What Are Service-Research Projects?
Unlike our shadowing programs, which focus on observing medical doctors in a hospital across multiple specialties, Atlantis Service-Research Projects (SRPs) are more internship-like. They’re an opportunity to learn full-time from an Atlantis Project Leader, inside an elite healthcare organization, in a real project with members of management and administration, while performing a highly impactful service – a unique mix.
Both of our two main program types, shadowing and SRPs, take place in exciting cities, and have a similar cost. But SRPs are very different from shadowing. Instead of spending, for instance, 3 weeks shadowing doctors in a hospital (which is how most Atlantis programs operate), SRPs have you spend that time in an office or similar work setting.
Together with other pre-health students, and under the direction of a Project Leader, participants generate research and insights that are beneficial to the host organization (which is always an elite institution with a recognizable brand).
The topic can be anything that is helpful to the host organization, but the organization is always directly or indirectly related to healthcare, and all Atlantis program participants are pre-health students (usually pre-med).
There are three benefits that SRPs bring to pre-health students: service, research, and brand name. Let’s address each of these in order in the sections that follow.
Participants learn from an Atlantis Project Leader who is in charge of the leadership and educational value of the program. But this learning happens by doing. Specifically, by doing a project that is impactful to the partner host organization. The project scope will vary from partner to partner, but all projects involve data-driven research, developing problem-solving frameworks, and communicating possible answers to high-level questions that the organization is facing. Projects are never focused on questions that leverage subject-matter expertise (i.e., the kind you’d have as an MD or a proven hospital administrator or a Ph.D. in something like Public Health); Service-Research Projects simply leverage smarts and a willingness to contribute to a great team and project, analyzing, researching, and presenting insights to management.
Service-Research Projects: One Pre-Med
Past Project Example
Date: 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023.
Healthcare Organization: Children’s National Hospital, Washington, D.C., one of the best pediatric hospitals in the U.S.
Context: Preparation for the 2021 Community Health Needs Assessment, measuring Childhood Opportunity in D.C. metropolitan neighborhoods and working with other organizations to promote racial equity in healthcare.
Executive Summary: Students measured what were major drivers behind low levels of childhood opportunity (measured by COI, Childhood Opportunity Index). They provided a historical perspective on D.C. neighborhoods, focusing on racial equity, and created community engagement tools.
Deliverables: Interim & Final presentations, Tableau visualizations, manuscript, interview guides including engagement tools (e.g., email & social media templates), focus group templates, stakeholder master list including their contacts, and historical write-up of D.C. neighborhoods.
One Consequence: Atlantis and Children’s National Hospital institutionally co-presented on this model and project at several leading academic conferences (including the very reputable ASPPH, where we presented in 2021).
A Real Project With Real Results
Our programs focus on learning-by-doing, specifically by producing research in the form of a slide deck that is presented to managers of the partner organization.
A Service-Research Project that Ran During the Pandemic, Was About the Pandemic, and Took Place in the Former Epicenter of the Pandemic in the Western World
At the San Matteo Hospital in Pavia, Italy, during the summer of 2021, Atlantis ran a Service-Research Project focused on the mental health of healthcare workers during the pandemic. Students learned from an Atlantis Project Leader by doing a project with this hospital. The project was done with and for some well-known doctors who were there when the pandemic first arrived (over a year before this Atlantis program took place). The project created analyses to support the hospital administration’s effort to improve the well-being of doctors, nurses, and all hospital staff at one of the first hospitals to fight the COVID virus outbreak in Europe and in the western world. The hospital found the work “truly remarkable and invaluable.” We expect, based on our experience, that many of the alumni of this program will be talking about their experience in medical school applications and interviews.
This experience allowed me to make a global impact on healthcare.
Some Of Our Partners
Developing a Strategic Theme for Your Med/PA School Applications
Where you spend your time will indicate your interests and passions to schools. If you plan to make a claim as an applicant (e.g., “I may be interested in pediatrics”), make sure that you have evidence to back it up (e.g., volunteer work or internships with kids).
Having an Atlantis Service-Research Project on your resume may help you to strategize a theme for your med/PA school application. Variety and breadth are always important, but if you have a range of specialties in your bank of experience already, it can help to have a central theme. Just make sure you’re passionate about the theme, because it’s not worth it otherwise. And always make sure that your activities don’t come at the expense of your undergraduate GPA, which is crucial; a theme is never worth below-average stats. When you look at the examples below, ask yourself: if you ran a med/PA school, wouldn’t you, all else equal, want more students with unique themes, as long as they’re substantial, relevant, and meaningful themes? Here are just a few high-level examples of how themes could work:
Watch the below video, where Atlantis (shadowing) alumni explain how they brought healthcare system differences to their med/PA applications to highlight their cultural competency; the same phenomenon can happen with Service-Research Projects alumni, since they also witness differences in systems in a very unique way.
Business & Healthcare
How Does Atlantis Partner with Such Elite Host Institutions, when Study Abroad Programs Generally Don’t?
Am I paying to work?
Is it fair that students can get exposure to these selective institutions by paying rather than applying to an internship there?
In the case of nonprofit hosts, how do they benefit from this?
Atlantis Has Presented the Proven, Innovative SRP Model at Several Top Healthcare Education Conferences
These several conferences include the 2021 annual meeting of the ASPPH, the top healthcare education conference in its field in the world.
Medical school admissions deans will often say that they like to see that applicants have “exposed themselves to some methodology for producing new knowledge.” They define this very broadly and thus it is not just limited to wet lab experience. A senior thesis in anthropology or a summer doing clinical research would fulfill this expectation as well as lab research.
These students participated in shadowing programs (not Service-Research Projects), but notice how med/PA school interviewers often asked these alumni about the uniqueness of their experience comparing developed-country healthcare systems, and how these alumni believe these conversations in interviews helped them get into medical/PA schools. Service-Research Projects are even more unique than shadowing, but they also highlight healthcare system differences, so the same effect applies.