Q: What is EMRAP?
A: In the simplest terms, EMRAP, or Emergency Medicine Research Associates Program, is a trade of a unique clinical observation experience for research service in an active Emergency Department (ED) setting. This process is usually is formatted as an actual undergraduate class that students take over the course of an entire year.
Q: Where is EMRAP available?
A: The EMRAP at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital (SJMH) was based on several other successful programs around the country, particularly the programs at the University of California, Irvine and the University of California, Davis. The program at SJMH is currently the only EMRAP program in Michigan and partners exclusively with Eastern Michigan University to provide the experience with its students. Some of the other programs across the country are located here:
Q: Is EMRAP at SJMH limited to undergraduate students only, or can post-baccalaureate and graduate students participate as well?
A: This specific program at SJMH is currently set-up to provide undergraduate students only with a "for credit" class opportunity, however it is possible that in the future additional slots could become available for those wishing to volunteer their time instead for the experience. These volunteer positions would be provided on an individual basis and are at the discretion of the EMRAP director.
Q: What kinds of tasks are EMRAP Associates expected to complete as part of their research duties?
A: Research responsibilities of associates usually include screening patients coming into the ED for research eligibility, approaching patients and performing informed consent for research projects, as well as collecting data from patients or their medical records to analyze for research projects. Occasionally, studies even require research associates to collect samples of saliva or blood, for which training is provided if necessary.
Q: When does the program start and end each year?
A: Due to the limitations of staff being able to train students entering the program, we only allow students to start at the beginning of the Summer (early May) or Fall (early September). The program then ends for most students at the conclusion of the following Winter/Spring semester, which results in either a full calendar or academic year of service. While Fall entry is an option, these positions are offered ONLY if their is room in addition to students starting in the Summer, as they do receive preference for starting earlier.
Q: Can I take the EMRAP class for one semester instead of a whole year?
A: Training research staff at any level can be very labor intensive and ends up being a significant time investment on behalf of the hospital, so those entering the program are very much expected to complete an entire year of service. The hope is that a year, from an aspiring medical professional's point of view, is well worth it due to the opportunities that the program offers.
Q: Do I get class credit each semester I participate?
A: Because of the way the program is currently set up at EMU and due to limitations in the amount of any one type of class credit offered towards a degree, credit is only provided in the Fall semester, while the course is offered through the school in both the Fall and the Winter/Spring. The Summer program is specifically offered on a volunteer basis and has two purposes: first, it allows students to get up to "full speed" before Fall semester so they can just continue recruitment responsibilities and build on existing research knowledge over the course of the year; second, it allows the hospital to bridge the gap from one academic year to the next, which is necessary since the research itself doesn't follow an academic calendar
Q: On average, how much time do I have to commit to any given week?
A: Like any class, this might vary a little depending on your level of commitment and study habits, but basically, and once orientation training is complete, students are at least expected to work 2 to 3 four-hour shifts per week in the ED and are expected to attend class at the end of every week, which usually lasts an hour or two. Quizzes are given frequently as new material is presented, however it is not expected that large quantity of time be required outside of when you are at the hospital to prepare for such formal evaluations. Weekly requirements during the orientation period (approximately 4-6 weeks) might vary a little more because, instead of working research shifts, students are trained in group sessions to cover basic research fundamentals, the duration of which often depend on how many people are being trained and how many studies need to be covered at the beginning. Overall, you should be able to compare this class to any other independent research study at school. Just remember, you get out of it what you put into it!
Q: Are holiday breaks recesses provided like with other classes?
A: All shifts that take place on holidays observed by the hospital are usually rescheduled or excused, and breaks are provided to an extent. However, as stated above, research can't afford to stop for months at a time, so students are usually provided with a week off over Christmas and New Years, a week off for the school's regularly scheduled Spring Break, and a week off towards the end of the Summer just before school begins. Personal vacations are usually permissible as long as they are requested with adequate notice, they are approved by the EMRAP Director, and the affected shifts are made up or traded with another EMRAP Associate.
Do you still have questions? If so, feel free to contact us.