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The REF Preceptorship Experience
The ACR Workforce Study estimated that nearly half of practicing rheumatologists will retire within eight years, which means that by 2025, there will be a severe shortage of rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals in the United States.
In an effort to combat this approaching void in patient care, the ACR Research and Education Foundation (REF) continues to increase its funding to sustain the workforce. REF preceptorship awards introduce the best and brightest medical and graduate students to the field of rheumatology as a possible career path by supporting a mentored, one-on-one interaction and real-world learning experience focused on rheumatology. Preceptorship opportunities are available for medical and graduate students who are in the very early stages of their medical career, and vary from introducing students to a career in rheumatology-related healthcare to a full-fledged research experience in a rheumatology lab.
Chirag Vora, MS, a second-year medical student at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif., completed an ACR REF/Abbott Medical Student Clinical Preceptorship with Dowain Wright, MD, PhD, at Children’s Hospital of Central California in Madera, Calif., last year.
“I am so grateful to have been a recipient of the ACR REF/Abbott Medical Student Clinical Preceptorship Award. As a first-year medical student, I spent hours in front of the textbooks without having a true understanding of clinical medicine,” explains Vora. “This preceptorship allowed me to appreciate the reasons I actually wanted to go into medicine. Furthermore, it opened my eyes to the realm of rheumatology and has stimulated my interest in wanting to pursue it. I am also thankful to my preceptor, Dr. Wright, who has helped me develop a foundation in clinical medicine that I will continue to build on.”
About the Preceptorship Award Program
The REF recently revamped its program to increase availability for medical and graduate students interested in rheumatology. The changes allow students to complete the preceptorship experience during their elective month(s), rather than requiring all experiences to be over the summer. The revised program cycle also allows for quarterly submission of applications.
There are four program offerings to choose from:
- ACR REF/Abbott Health Professional Graduate Student Research Preceptorship;
- ACR REF/Abbott Medical Student Clinical Preceptorship;
- ACR REF/Abbott Medical Student Research Preceptorship; and
- ACR REF/Ephraim P. Engleman Endowed Resident Research Preceptorship.
The upcoming deadlines for 2010 preceptorship applications are May 3, August 2, and November 1. Don’t miss your chance to help ensure the future of rheumatology. Visit www.rheumatology.org/REF to apply as a preceptor today!