Want to join a community of people committed to improving patient care and medical education through clinical research?

Join Academic Associate Program


Clinical research is a mainstay of modern medicine and the key to advancing patient care.

The Academic Associate Program is intended for pre-medical undergraduates and medical students to facilitate the research process. Our program provides a unique opportunity to engage with medical faculty and staff in a high-acuity ED while developing an understanding of the fundamentals of clinical research by contributing to a variety of novel research projects. 

We set out to help students develop an appreciation for the art and science of research and medicine through direct engagement with principal investigators. Students are encouraged to think critically by sharing questions and providing enrollment feedback for ongoing projects and research protocols all while observing a variety of EM physicians caring for a diverse underserved patient population.



Research Associates actively participate in various degrees of data collection for prospective and retrospective studies. Students should have an enthusiastic attitude and strong work ethic, as conducting research in an emergency department can be chaotic. Excellent communication skills and a professional demeanor are critical when approaching patients, and students who thrive demonstrate grit and passion for the cause. 

Prospective students are required to attend six, 3-hour shifts a month and one monthly meeting, be of freshman or sophomore standing, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, and commit at least one year to the program. 

Upon being selected as Research Associate, you will be required to successfully complete the onboarding process through the Cook County Health HR department and undergo IRB training through the Department of Research and Regulatory Affairs.



Article written about the program.

Instilling Future Doctors with a Passion for Research and Public Medicine

This year-round program is co-founded and directed by Lum Rizvanolli. For more information please see the link to the syllabus.

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Benefits of Joining

The Academic Associate Program is an opportunity for students considering a career in healthcare to practice clinical research in the hospital setting. In addition to first hand experience, there are many benefits to joining the program including:

  • Flexible Schedule
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Grant Opportunities 
  • Course Credit via LAS 289
  • Develop critical thinking and interpersonal skills
  • The opportunity to shadow emergency medicine physicians in Chicago’s busiest ER

Although there will certainly be opportunities for presentation, we cannot guarantee that every participant get an authorship. Please see Dr. Bailitz’s letter concerning expectations and opportunities for presenting.

Expectations and opportunities for presenting