Health Fellows Program

Health Fellows Program

Launched in 1999, the Health Fellows Program is an innovative academic program offering students exceptional opportunities to participate in a clinical research project.  In addition to their regular coursework, students work 30 hours per week with clinical-care physicians or other research-active health care providers in one-on-one relationships at area medical centers.  

Challenging course work plus rigorous on-site scientific research

This is a research program.  Students also gain valuable experience working in a health care atmosphere.  Most placements are at Hartford Hospital, the Institute of Living, and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. The program provides students with valuable experience in a healthcare setting that may help guide future their career choices.   For students interested in a career in medicine, this relevant experience will be key when applying to medical school.  For students interested in a career in research, this program of intensive participation will make them more attractive to graduate schools. In addition, students will have learned important research skills specific to their placement as well as more general skills such as formulating a hypothesis, methods of data collection, and methods of data analysis.

The Program

Supervisors can be physicians, physician assistants, PhD researchers, clinical psychologists; all are engaged in clinically-relevant health care research. Placements are carefully screened to insure they are rigorous while providing students with a stimulating learning experience.  To assure that each student and supervisor are well matched, supervisors complete a questionnaire in advance that describes their requirements and the possible opportunities at their placement, and students fill out an application describing their interests and any schedule constraints.

In addition to working 30 hours per week for a professional in the healthcare setting, each fellow participates in a weekly seminar for which he or she will receive three course credits. The seminar is valued at one course credit and the clinical research project is assigned two course credits. Separate grades will be given for the seminar and the clinical research project. In some cases one of these course credits will count towards a major, but this is decided by the individual major departments. Students are strongly encouraged to take only one other course at Trinity.

The weekly seminar covers general topics in health care, including recent advances in research and clinical applications of basic research, and readings are assigned for a weekly class discussion.   As part of the site-based experience, students keep a weekly journal of experiences and produce a written summary of the research they conducted. As much as possible this takes the form of a scientific journal article. The student’s research is also presented at the Trinity College Science Symposium held at the end of each spring semester.  Many students go on to complete their work for a national or international conference and/or as a manuscript in the peeer-reviewed literature.  See examples here: Projects.aspx

Admission to the Program

The Health Fellows Program is limited to 15 students, and preference is given to juniors and seniors. It is expected that students will have completed two laboratory courses, and some placements carry specific additional prerequisites. It is strongly recommended that statistics be taken beforehand and a strong background in science will be strongly encouraged.

Interested students should contact the Health Fellows coordinator in September. Matches between interested students and supervisors will be completed by November, and students will begin work at the hospital with the start of classes in January. Students who participate in their junior year should bear in mind the option of remaining on site to complete a senior thesis.