The Summer Research and Medical Enrichment Program (SRMP) is a four-week program that provides talented international medical students with medical and research enrichment opportunities at the George Washington University (GW). The program is offered through GW’s Office of International Medicine Programs (IMP) at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) and hosted on an annual basis each summer.
In addition to the medical and research curriculum, students participate in various workshops concentrated on professional development, including tips for writing CVs and personal statements, which are designed to prepare the students for applying to U.S. graduate medical training after medical school.
In 2021, SRMP underwent several adjustments that contributed to a larger, more diverse cohort of participating medical students. These adjustments included reducing the program to four weeks to better fit the schedule of more medical students, and offering the program in a virtual format for the second time. The 2021 SRMP cohort was made up of 15 medical students from the following nine countries: Bahrain, Canada, Germany, India, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Trinidad, and the United States.
Since international medical graduates face stiff competition in applying for positions in U.S. graduate medical education programs, greater emphasis was placed on advising students on how to become a more competitive applicant and navigate the process of applying to residency programs. Gaining experience within the U.S. health care system and with biomedical research is also valuable as it increases the confidence of program directors by demonstrating the students’ knowledge of the U.S. medical system.
Antonia Gaudig, a final-year medical student from Germany, describes why the virtual SRMP was a great option for her. “Because of COVID-19, there was no way to gain actual in-person experience in the U.S., but the SRMP was perfect to get a glimpse of the U.S. clinical as well as the research world,” she said.
As she progressed through the program, Gaudig also noted the sense of camaraderie that the cohort developed. “It felt good to meet other international students and to find out that we struggled with similar things. We were all rooting for one another!”
During the final research symposium, which was Gaudig’s favorite activity, the students presented the biomedical research designs and proposals they developed over the four-week program under the guidance of GW faculty members. The research symposium engaged both the students’ oral presentation and research processing skills. Furthermore, the research projects covered a unique array of health topics affecting specific populations, such as COVID-19 patients with a history of hypertension and eating disorders among teenagers. In light of her positive SRMP experience, Gaudig offers the following advice to prospective international medical students: “If anyone is interested in pursuing a career in the U.S., the SRMP is a great starting point!”
For any international medical student who is interested in applying for the 2022 SRMP, please check the IMP website for updates over the next few months or contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.