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Student FAQs

Application Process

Q. What role does the mentor play in the Medical Student Summer Research Fellowship? What should I expect from my mentor?

A. Mentors are responsible for the majority of your program and guidance while you are at HSS. Mentors are expected to carry out the following responsibilities:

  1. Meet with the student once a week (a minimum of 4 times during the 8-week session) to discuss the student’s research
  2. Ensure that if he/she personally is unable to meet once a week with the student, another member of the research team will be available to provide guidance regarding the student’s research.
  3. Bring the student to the operating room or office hours (or arrange for the student to shadow a colleague who is an orthopaedic surgeon) at least 4 times during the 8-week session.
  4. Complete the student evaluation at the end of the program

Q. I already have a mentor in mind for the fellowship that I have a previous relationship with. Does my application process differ?

A. Please make sure to indicate your prospective HSS mentor in the designated tab of your online application. We strongly recommend that you submit a letter of recommendation from the prospective mentor as well. Please note that having a prospective HSS mentor does not guarantee admittance to the program. We ask that you do not introduce yourself to faculty members prior to the application deadline in hopes that they will write you a letter. A select group of faculty members participate in the program and they will indicate to us if they have a student in mind.

Q. How are students chosen for the MSSRF?

A. We had over 453 students apply to the MSSRF for 2020. Once filtered by set criteria, the students are divided between a committee of faculty members who then score the applications on additional criteria such as previous research involvement, personal statement, and letter(s) of recommendation. The top 16 students will be selected and notified of their acceptance to the program contingent on matching with a mentor. Students will reach out to their top 2-4 mentors for interviews over the course of a few weeks. Mentors are free to interview as many students as they like, but it is up to the student to reach out to them for an interview. After interviewing, the student will send us his or her mentor preference by early/-mid April. Once all priority lists are reviewed, students and mentors will be matched with priority placement of student preference.

Q. I am coming from out of area and will require housing over the summer. Is housing provided by HSS?

A. Unfortunately HSS cannot provide housing assistance for our medical student summer research fellows. Upon acceptance into the program, we would encourage you use various outside resources to sublet an apartment close to the hospital. In the past, students have used Airbnb, Craigslist, and local university online bulletin boards/postings.



Q. How do I obtain an ID Card?

A. To get an ID badge please report to the 2nd Floor Security Office (open at 8:00 am) on your first day of the fellowship and tell them you are a visiting medical student and need to get your picture taken. Your name will have been submitted to the security officers so they will have you on file. If you have any questions or there are any issues please call Zoe Heisler at 917.260.4586.

If you have arrived in the city prior to your start date, you are welcome to come to the hospital to do this prior to the week you begin the program. Security might not give you the physical badge until your official start date, but this way all you will have to do is pick it up when you arrive to meet with your mentor for the first time. In this case, contact Zoe Heisler at heislerz@hss.edu.

Q. Is there any specific training I must do prior to my arrival at HSS?

A. No training is required prior to your arrival, but you are welcome to begin the process by completing your CITI training online. The CITI program is completely web-based and can be accessed by any researcher anywhere who has access to the Internet. All users must choose “Hospital for Special Surgery” or the training will not be registered with the IRB. Go to www.citiprogram.org and log in to your account if you already have one, or create a new account. You need to complete the Human Subject Research Curriculum and Biomedical modules under "Online Courses".

Q. I need access to the electronic medical record in order to access information about patients for my research project. How do I get access to EPIC?

A. Zoe Heisler will facilitate your access to EPIC. If your mentor requires you to have extensive EPIC access for your project, your mentor office manager should complete and/or approve all requests for Epic access. If they are unsure of how to submit this request, please have them contact Zoe Heisler at heislerz@hss.edu for more detailed instructions. Please note that your HSS CITI certification must be completed prior to EPIC access being granted.

Q. How do I obtain access to the OR? What permissions do I have once in the OR?

A. You are required to complete a quick scrub orientation video once you arrive at HSS. The video is only available on the HSS intranet so you will only be able to watch this video once you are on campus. It is required to watch the video before you are granted OR access. After watching the video, we ask that you take a short quiz at the same link titled “Scrub Post Test”.

As a rising 2nd year medical student you are not permitted to assist in surgeries, but you will have access to participate in patient exams/histories and to scrub in to surgeries to observe.

Q. Where do I get scrubs to access the OR?

A. Scrubs are available via scrub machines on the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 9th floors. Instructions on how to access these machines with your unique scrub account will be given to you prior to your start date.

Q. I can’t access scrub machines/my scrub account.

A. Please make sure that you are attempting to access the correct scrub machines. The scrub machines outside of the locker rooms will give you the wrong color scrubs. If you are still having trouble, call Ivelisse Diaz at 212.606.1977 between 10 am and 6 pm. If you are expected to be present for a surgery prior to 10 am, please make sure to test your account the day prior to make sure there are no issues. If it is before 10 am and you are unable to access scrubs, we ask that you please try and borrow scrubs from a colleague until the problem is resolved.



Q. What does a typical day look like in the program? What commitments will I have?

A. You will spend the majority of your time with your mentor or with members of your mentor’s lab. You will be asked to attend mandatory lunch lectures on Mondays from 12:00-1:30 pm and are also invited to attend research lectures on Fridays from 7:15-8:15 am in July and August. At the conclusion of the program you will be expected to give a brief presentation to your other colleagues in the program, as well as your mentor and/or members of your lab.


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