The Medical Research Volunteer Program (MRVP) is a program that targets undergraduate students interested in becoming involved in the field of medical research early on in their academic career. It provides these students with an active experience and the opportunity to learn from and support physicians, clinical researchers, basic science researchers and other health professionals. Through this program, students are assigned to researchers and become part of a research team where they observe and aid on a volunteer basis. For many students, the MRVP will provide their first exposure to the field of research. As students help in the various tasks assigned to them, they will see first-hand the extensive work that goes into scientific research.
The overall objectives of the MRVP are summarized below:
- Instil and nourish research curiosity in undergraduate students.
- Provide opportunities for undergraduate students to be exposed to a real research experience.
- Allow undergraduate students to develop a deeper understanding of the scientific basis of research that goes beyond what is offered in the core curriculum.
- Help undergraduate students achieve a greater understanding of the process and methods of scientific research.
- Give undergraduate students the opportunity to take an active part in advancing the field of medical research
- Encourage and increase teamwork amongst students and also between students and faculty members.
The MRVP is headed by a committee that is responsible for overseeing the program. The committee is composed of two faculty members and two student representatives. The faculty members include one member from the Faculty of Medicine and one from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Student representatives are pre-medical students.
The roles of the MRVP committee are summarized below:
- Overseeing the process and ensuring the success of the program.
- Recruiting students to be enrolled in the program, as well as faculty members to house the student volunteers.
- Matching students and faculty members based on interests and needs of both.
- Following up on the students’ progress in their volunteer work.
- Resolving any arising conflicts throughout the process.
- Continuously evaluating and developing the program.