Medical Student Research Opportunity

We are excited to share that we have a new research opportunity for current medical students. They will have a vital role in supporting our faculty on our NIH-funded LEAPS study. Please see the following description and contact Melissa Poleo with any questions.

POSITION: Medical Student Research Practicum (1 Year)

START DATE: July 1, 2024

END DATE: June 30, 2025

ORGANIZATION: Center for Surgery and Public Health

INSTITUTION: Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Center for Surgery and Public (CSPH), Department of Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is a joint initiative of Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), located in Boston, Massachusetts. CSPH has been at the forefront of public health research of surgical care delivery within and throughout our nation’s healthcare system. Utilizing innovative research methodologies grounded in clinical reality, we have developed surgical safety checklists, created a national agenda for surgical disparities research, and launched the pioneering work of rising stars in surgical health services research. We are advancing the science of surgical care delivery by studying effectiveness, quality, equity, and value at the population level and training the most gifted of a new generation of physician-scientists. Together, our efforts are making surgery safer, more patient-centered, and more accessible in the U.S. and around the world.


CSPH is seeking a full-time medical student for one year to participate in an NIH funded grant called, “A Layered Examination of the Patient Experience to Elucidate the Role of Palliative Care in Surgical Care for Seriously Ill Adults” (LEAPS). The PI for this project is Zara Cooper, MD, MSc. 

As part of the NIH-funded LEAPS study exploring palliative care in surgery, the student would primarily support the work of Aim 3, an ethnographic study of palliative care in clinical settings. This would require observing interactions between providers, patients, and family/caregivers in clinics at sites across the MGB system, as well as interviewing patients and clinicians. Work for this aim includes regular weekly meetings about the ethnographic work as well as the study overall. Project updates will be provided to the broader research team at quarterly co-investigator meetings. The student will may also support other aims of the project, with primary responsibilities being directed at the ethnographic work.


  • Direct the ethnographic work for the study.
  • Observe interactions between providers, patients, and family/caregivers in clinics at sites across the MGB system.
  • Interview patients and clinicians.
  • Attend quarterly team/co-investigator meetings.



  • Must be currently enrolled in medical school
  • Interest in Aging, End of Life or Palliative Care preferred



If interested, please send your CV and letter of interest to Melissa Poleo, MS, CSPH administrative director at

The deadline to apply is May 1, 2024.