A shot of a row of three research posters on easels from an angle.

Embark

Research & Scholarship

Embark is a required scholarly concentration program of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine that provides a mentored introduction to research and scholarship. The four-year longitudinal curriculum consists of structured coursework in research design and implementation, compliance training, research communication, and scholarly presentation, with protected time to develop mentored projects in a wide-range of community and health-related settings. 

Embark Program Directors

For more information, please contact one of the directors listed below.

  • Dwayne Baxa, Ph.D. (baxa@oakland.edu)
  • Douglas Gould, Ph.D. (djgould@oakland.edu)
  • Victoria Roach, Ph.D. (victoriaroach@oakland.edu)
  • Kara Sawarynski, Ph.D. (sawaryns@oakland.edu)
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Embark Mission Statement

Embark is a required scholarly concentration program of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) that provides a mentored introduction to research and scholarship.  The four-year longitudinal curriculum consists of structured coursework in research design and implementation, compliance training, research communication, and scholarly presentation, with protected time to develop mentored projects in a wide-range of community and health-related settings.

As part of the Embark program, every medical student gains a tool kit of research and project-management skills, beneficial to the completion of their required capstone outcomes-based research project. Throughout their OUWB career, students have opportunities to utilize their skills by providing periodic progress presentations, where scholarly achievements are recognized with awards and scholarships. With both vertical and horizontal integration to the overall academic mission, the Embark program represents an important component of the OUWB curriculum that seeks to encourage a passion for life-long learning, and the development of research design and implementation skills in all of our future physicians. 

As our graduates embark on their careers, we anticipate each will have an exceptional impact on the patients and communities that they serve, and will act as multipliers to continue the growth of research developments and socially accountable activities within their future peer groups.

Embark Program Goals

As part of the Embark program, every medical student gains a tool kit of research and project-management skills, beneficial to the completion of their required health outcomes-based research project. Throughout their OUWB career, students have opportunities to utilize their skills by providing periodic progress presentations, where scholarly achievements are recognized with awards and scholarships. With both vertical and horizontal integration to the overall academic mission, the Embark program represents an important component of the OUWB curriculum that seeks to encourage a passion for life-long learning, and the development of research design and implementation skills in all of our future physicians.

As our graduates embark on their careers, we anticipate each will have an exceptional impact on the patients and communities that they serve, and will act as multipliers to continue the growth of research developments and socially accountable activities within their future peer groups.

The First Year

The first year entails course work that encompasses sessions on research study and design. Included in these topics are development of a research question, constructing a research proposal, and the important aspects of research regulatory bodies (internal review board (IRB)).

Also during this first year, students choose mentors with similar research interests. Mentors include OUWB faculty from the Foundational Medical Studies Department, various clinical departments in Beaumont Health and faculty from Oakland University Departments. The mentor and the student work collaboratively to design a feasible, outcomes-based research project. The mentor guides the student in their project throughout the four-years of medical school.

The Second Year

During the M2 year, the students continue with instruction in “best practices” in writing an abstract, and providing an oral or poster presentation. Many students strive to complete their data collection by the end of their M2 year. The year culminates with awards given for the most outstanding short oral presentations of current research status.

The Third and Fourth Years

Protected time is embedded in the M3 year. Additionally, Directed Independent Research rotations are possible in the M4 year to continue additional work on Embark or other research projects. Completion of the capstone research project is a graduation requirement for each student with presentation of his or her work at a research colloquium in the M4 year.

At OUWB, we believe in recognizing our medical students for efforts in conducting best practices in research. Partial fourth-year scholarships are awarded for outstanding Embark achievement through a mini-manuscript competition. Embark encourages students to present their findings and provides supplemental travel funds when appropriate for students to present their completed work at regional and national meetings under the guidance of their mentors. Writing of abstracts with submission to local, national and international conferences, as well as submission of manuscripts are encouraged but not required. 

Mini-Manuscript Award Winners

Generous donors of OUWB support students by funding scholarships that are awarded through the school’s Embark program. Third year medical students have the option of preparing a mini-manuscript reporting their Embark program capstone project outcomes. The manuscripts are judged by a panel of faculty, and the students who prepared the top manuscripts are awarded partial scholarships to be used in their fourth year at OUWB.

Based on generous funding from our donors, the following students have recently been awarded partial scholarships for the M4 year as a result of excellent manuscript submissions to the M3 Mini-Manuscript competition.  

Ann V. Nicholson Embark Program Competitive Scholarship, Manuscript of the Year 2020

David Lee, Assessing the Impact of Resuscitation Residents on the Treatment of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Patients; Mentor: Michael Burla

Ravitz Foundation Embark Program Competitive Scholarship, Manuscript of the Year Runner-Up 2020

Nikhil Mankuzy, Prognostic Significance of Neuroendocrine Differentiation in Prostate Adenocarcinoma in Patients with Metastatic Disease;
Mentor: Daniel Krauss

Ravitz Foundation Embark Program Competitive Scholarship 2020

Patricia Fuentes, Hippocampus Segmentation on Non-Contrast CT using Deep Learning; Mentor: Thomas Guerrero

Nahrain Putris, The p38-MAPK Inhibitor SB203580 is a Potent Activator of ERK1/2 (MAPK) in Primary Human Retinal Microvascular Endothelial Cells; Mentor: Kenneth Mitton

Daniel Schoenherr, Online integrative histology module improves pathology self-efficacy for medical students with lower course performance;
Mentor: Stefanie Attardi; Co-mentor: Mary Dereski

Christos Sarantopoulos, The Role of Human Macrophage Histone Deacetylases in Inflammation and Disease: A Systematic Review;
Mentor: Qing-Sheng Mi; Co-mentor: Stephanie Swanberg

Newman Family Foundation Embark Competitive Scholarship 2020

Nikta Rezakahn Khajeh, Assessing the Prevalence of Sport-Induced Urinary Incontinence and its Emotional Impact on Female Gymnasts;
Mentor: Kenneth Peters

Past Mini-Manuscript Award Winners

2019 Mini-Manuscript Award Winners

2018 Mini-Manuscript Award Winners

2017 Mini-Manuscript Award Winners

Become a Mentor

How to Become a Mentor

Please contact embark@oakland.edu with any questions.


Meaningful Participation Eligibility

Clinical faculty may be eligible for meaningful participation points by providing the service of mentoring.

The Meaningful Participation Program is designed to recognize the extraordinary efforts of the Beaumont medical staff in dedicating the time and expertise necessary to assure that every graduate of the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine has received the training necessary to become an effective, compassionate contributor to the well being of the community.

An image of OUWB student Majd Faraj and World Medical Relief CEO George Samson
Majd Faraj | Class of 2023

Embark Project Spotlight

A project led by a medical student from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine has received $150,000 in external funding to further the work — the highest amount ever connected to an OUWB Embark project.

The project was led by Majd Faraj, M2. Additional funding is set to be provided via contract from A.M. Surgical Inc. of Smithtown, N.Y., a surgical devices company.

The contract will allow for continuation and expansion of research related to a surgical modality known as Wide-Awake-Local-Anesthesia-No-Tourniquet (WALANT), which involves the patient being awake (compared with traditional operating room procedures involving sedation) for hand and wrist conditions such as carpal tunnel and trigger finger.

Faraj created a novel decision aid to help further patients’ knowledge of wide-awake surgery. He developed the decision aid as his Embark project, a required scholarly concentration program at OUWB that provides mentored research and scholarship.

(Full story at https://tinyurl.com/3z5zvy7v)