Information for Prospective Research Volunteers


What is the HCMC EM
REsearch Volunteer Program?


The Research Volunteer (RV) Program is an internationally acclaimed educational opportunity for undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students to participate in data collection for academic research projects in the HCMC Emergency Department.

Research Volunteers contribute daily to the innovation of medical training and practice. Our studies range from pharmaceutical trials and randomization of common sedation drugs to socioeconomic factors influencing medical decision making in a diverse urban teaching hospital. Our investigators also initiate studies to develop new and innovative teaching methods for the resident training. In addition to time spent in the ED, students are invited to attend the weekly department conference and lectures on selected topics in emergency medicine and clinical research. Studies published in prestigious academic medicine journals such as this one show that Research Volunteers may benefit from higher rates of medical school admission. Depending on the student’s home institution, course credit may also be awarded.

Who May apply?

  • Medical students

  • Undergraduate students

  • Post-baccalaureate students

  • Pre-health professions student


Research Volunteer Duties

As a Research Volunteer, students are afforded the opportunity to learn basic methodologies in clinical research, interact with patients, and perform research study procedures. Assignments may include:

  • Screening the emergency department for patients that meet study enrollment criteria.

  • Facilitating patient understanding of study details with ED patients.

  • Collecting biometric and survey data for clinical studies.

  • Entering study data into databases for analysis.

Expectations and Benefits

  • Get a head start on using electronic medical records

  • One-on-one patient interaction

  • Observe trauma cases in the state-of-art Stabilization Room (Stab)

  • Solid introduction to clinical research and basic methodology

  • Secure letters of recommendations from the research directors for medical school and other graduate-level programs (Please read the RV Handbook Manual)

  • Attend lectures on various emergency medicine-related topics by experienced faculty physicians such as: Emergency Airway Management, Informed Consent and Research Ethics, Sim Center Lab Experiences, and more!

  • Attend our Critical Care Conferences (STAB) with residents and practitioners from other disciplines

  • Shadow opportunities available upon request


The research associate program runs year-round with fall, spring, and summer terms. Students are required to volunteer for a total of 8 hours per week, spread between two different shifts. When participating in the program, Research Volunteers are also expected to work one to two overnight shifts every month.

To apply, applicants must submit two academic or professional letters of recommendation along with an updated resume.


  • Applicants must be able to volunteer the minimum number of hours every week, as well as one or two overnight shifts every month.

  • Applicants must be 18 years old by the time of the application deadline.

  • Applicants should express an interest in medicine and academic research.

  • Prior research experience is beneficial, but not required.

  • Applicants must be professional and possess good written and verbal communication skill

Selection Procedure

Applications are evaluated by program coordinators and the research directors using a rubric that incorporates the applicant’s applicable skills, professionalism, and letters of recommendation.

Accepted applicants must complete a background check and health screening.


All RVs must attend three orientation sessions at the beginning of every term. During the following two term, new RVs work closely with Senior Research Volunteers (SRVs) to learn how to perform current studies and receive support during their first term in the program. Senior RVs continue to train, mentor, and lead new and returning RVs over the course of the term.

Important Notes for Accepted RVs

We do require a background check for all accepted RVs. The background check will include submitting a fingerprint for additional identity verification. If, for whatever reason, you are not able to provide consent for this, we ask that you do not apply.

The HCMC Occupational Health & Wellness department requires all employees and volunteers to complete a comprehensive health screening process which requires proof of immunity via titers and/or vaccinations for MMR, varicella (chicken pox), TB, and Hep B. If you found not to be immune to Hep B, you will have to complete a booster. If you are found to have a latent infection of TB, you will be asked to continue on a prophylactic regimen to ensure you do not become contagious and harm patients within the ED. Keep in mind that is a time-consuming process. We ask that you get started on this as soon as you are accepted.

Delays in the health clearance process will result in your dismissal from the program. Research Volunteers must be cleared to work with patients in the ED before the term begins.