Course Overview

Bio 2652: PEMRAP® Program

Children's Hospital

As Research Associates (RAs), PEMRAP students assist Washington University faculty members who serve as principal investigators (P.I.s) for clinical research studies. Through their efforts as RAs, students help gather patient information on numerous research projects. Research studies vary from semester to semester. Topic areas of study currently include Male Adolescent Health, MRSA Home Study, The Established Status Epilepticus Treatment Trial, Improved Diagnosis of Respiratory Infections, and The Use of Biomarkers in Pediatric Musculoskeletal Infections.

Research Associates assist during the active period of patient enrollment through screening of Emergency Department (ED) patients for study eligibility, reading information about the studies to the patients, collecting data regarding patient history and certain physical examination findings, and generally facilitating the study enrollment process. When RAs are not busy with study enrollment, they have the opportunity to observe ED patient evaluations and procedures such as suturing, casting and lumbar punctures. RAs work approximately two 4-hour shifts per week in the ED and attend a weekly 2-hour lecture on Tuesdays from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. ED shift times are arranged to accommodate individual student class schedules. Additionally, PEMRAP students may elect to participate in optional shadowing shifts in the ED. These shifts allow students to shadow a resident, fellow, or hospitalist for a two-hour period in the ED.

Weekly classes include lectures given by pediatric faculty members and research coordinators. Subjects covered include an introduction to clinical research, study design, sample size calculations, inclusion/exclusion criteria, data collection and enrollment techniques. In addition, faculty members with active research projects introduce the basic biological principles behind the clinical questions being asked. Finally, students prepare a brief presentation on a clinical topic relevant to pediatric medicine (e.g. jaundice, asthma or meningitis) for presentation to the class at the end of the semester.