The MSTAR program provides medical students short-term research training in aging and geriatrics with successful mentors in the field, with the goal of encouraging medical students to consider careers in aging research.
In this program students spend 8-12 weeks:
- conducting aging research under the close supervision of an experienced mentor
- acquiring essential research skills
- networking with other medical students and faculty who share an interest in aging research
- learning about careers in aging
- learning about common clinical topics in aging; and
- participating in clinical care of the aged
Since 1989, more than 300 medical students have participated in this program and its precursor, the Medical Student Geriatric Scholars Program. Each year, students present their research at local and national meetings. Many students have won awards at these meetings and many have published their work in medical journals.
How to Apply to the Program
Interested students should go to the American Federation for Aging Research website to find information on the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program, including a link to obtain an application.
Application components should be downloaded from the AFAR website and a completed application sent directly UCLA.
UCLA DGSOM students may contact program co-directors Dr. Jonathan Wanagat and Dr. Edmond Teng for help arranging a Home Institution Faculty Sponsor.
Each student will have a structured research experience. Students will conduct research with a mentor who will assist them in completing a project that can be accomplished in an 8 to 12-week period. At the conclusion of the summer, students will present their research at UCLA and also write a research abstract. Students are strongly encouraged to present their work at national meetings including the American Geriatrics Society Annual Meeting.
Students participate in a variety of weekly clinical training experiences with older adults. These include weekly experiences at outpatient, inpatient, nursing home and other sites.
Students will attend seminars one half day per week either in person or via videoconference. The topics include:
- General research methods (e.g., how to prepare a research report, responsible conduct of research)
- Clinical topics in geriatrics (e.g., incontinence, dementia, etc.)
- Career opportunities in aging and geriatrics
Students are encouraged to network with faculty, research staff and each other to promote common interests in aging. Students from all program sites attend a dinner in Los Angeles at the end of the program as well as an event at the American Geriatrics Society annual meeting. Students are also encouraged to maintain contact with the program, their mentors and fellow MSTAR students after program completion.
A program director will meet with each student approximately two weeks after beginning the program to check in and make sure their project is progressing and their mentor is providing sufficient support. Students will be asked to complete evaluations of the weekly seminars they attend. At the end of the summer, site directors meet individually with students to elicit their opinions about all aspects of the program. We use this information to modify and improve our program continuously.
Each year, program awards are given to deserving mentors. Awards are issued for best research mentor and best clinical mentor. Many MSTAR students win additional awards for their research at the American Geriatrics Society Annual Meeting and other local and national meetings.
The MSTAR Program is possible through generous support from: