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Taking Medical Education from Bench to Bedside

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School of Medicine students prepare for practice through research

Behind every discovery of a new drug or treatment are thousands of clinicians, scientists and healthcare professionals involved in medical research.

It’s why forward-thinking institutions like Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine (renamed Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell) have structured a rigorous yet conscious curriculum that emphasizes practical experience, collaboration, and scientific innovation—a combination that has laid the groundwork for the next generation of thought-leaders and breakthroughs in medicine.

“I think research is fundamental to medical education,” said Travis A. Doering, MD (pictured left [in graduation attire] with faculty), a member of the School of Medicine’s inaugural class who recently graduated with distinction in research for an investigation in critical laboratory values.  “Even for clinicians not involved in research, there will be a constant stream of new studies that they will have to interpret and incorporate—I think there is little that prepares you for this as well as leading your own research project.”

Participating in investigative work encourages students to take an active role in their prospective field of study. At the School of Medicine, faculty and students are engaged in all forms of collaborative research, ranging from study of the underlying causes of disease though development and evaluation of new diagnostics, therapies, approaches to health care, and health care outcomes in populations.

“Research can help students build a foundation for evidence-based medicine,” said Joel N.H. Stern, PhD, assistant professor of science education and neurology who chairs the School of Medicine’s Student Research Advisory Committee, a group of dedicated biomedical and clinical faculty investigators that connects students with research mentors and opportunities. “Students gain a better understanding of how treatments are developed, learn how to evaluate information in a more objective manner, and develop important problem-solving skills.”

Nearly 70 percent of students at the School of Medicine engage in research during the summer after their first year of study, and almost 100 percent do so by graduation. Student investigators are guided from start to finish by School of Medicine faculty mentors.  School of Medicine recent graduates awarded distinctions in research received guidance from faculty mentors James M. Crawford, MD, PhD, School of Medicine chair of pathology and laboratory medicine, and Ernesto P. Molmenti, MD, professor of medicine and surgery at the School of Medicine. Medical students connect with their mentors based on specialty area and/or research interest.

“Mentoring is important in shaping the intellectual and professional development of the next generation of physicians and scientists,” said Dr. Stern. “Our faculty have many responsibilities, and mentoring students is central to our mission.”

All medical students benefit from the extensive resources of the School of Medicine and The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, a collaboration that offers unlimited opportunities for students to conduct basic and translational investigations in areas such as immunology, neurobiology, oncology and sepsis.  School of Medicine students engage in research projects, locally and overseas, that address a wide range of health issues.

“As healthcare providers, we want the best patient outcomes as possible,” said Asaph Levy, MD (pictured right, hands raised in celebration), a recent graduate of the School of Medicine who received distinction in research for a study of steroid use in pancreas transplantation. “The only way to ensure this is to ask questions and conduct research to prove or disprove it on a larger scale. I hope to continue to be productive and not only practice medicine, but also to help shape it as I progress through my medical career.”

For more information about medical student research activities and faculty mentoring at the School of Medicine, contact Dr. Stern at

A complete list of inaugural class graduates who received awards and distinctions can be found by clicking here.

About the author

Adrienne Stoller

Adrienne Stoller is communications manager at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. For more information about news items or media inquiries, please send a message to or call 516-463-7585.

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