2018 BIGGER Participants Present Research Projects

December 20, 2018

On December 14, members of the 2018 Bridging the Gap to Enhance Clinical Research (BIGGER) Program presented their research projects to program managers and mentors. The presentations highlighted the projects students had been focused on throughout the 6-month experience.

The five BIGGER participants presenting were:

  • Liz Ciociola, presenting Association between preoperative respiratory support and postoperative complications in patients undergoing pediatric cardiac surgery;

  • Razan Fayyad, presenting Uptake of a smartphone app for self-assessment of functional capacity as the sixth vital sign of a RE-AIM evaluation;

  • Ciara Green, presenting Recovery time & physical activity in older dialysis patients

  • Tomi Ladipo, presenting Epidemiology of bacterial meningitis in the neonatal intensive care unit; and

  • LaPrince-Miller Smith, presenting Comparing the safety of morphine and fentanyl in a retrospective study on preterm neonates

“It was challenging to speak to a room full of highly knowledgeable people, but also tremendously rewarding,” said Liz Ciociola, a member of the 2018 cohort. “I enjoyed the opportunity to speak about my progress this semester and to present our findings.”

Tomi Ladipo
Tomi Ladipo presents her research project to the group.

The BIGGER Program is an immersive research program led by Dr. Kevin Thomas and Dr. Vivian Chu. The program is open to students who have recently finished an undergraduate degree and are taking a gap year prior to applying for or enrolling in a graduate or health professions school. Students are trained on best research practices and work closely with a senior and junior faculty mentor while completing their projects.

“More college graduates are taking a gap year to better define their career goals before diving into advanced training,” said Amanda McMillan, CTSI staff director for Workforce Development. “The BIGGER program hopes to attract many of these diverse, talented students to careers in science by fostering their understanding of clinical research and its implications and providing opportunities for trainees to gain valuable research experience in preparation for health profession careers."

Many of the participants in this year’s program are going on to exciting new opportunities in their careers, from pharmacy school to physical therapy programs. Liz will be attending medical school in the upcoming year, and she credits the BIGGER program with helping her get established for that next step.

“The BIGGER program far exceeded my expectations,” she said. “My mentors challenged me by encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone but also supported me every step of the way. On top of that, the BIGGER participants in my cohort were some of the most supportive, motivating, and genuinely kind people that I've had the pleasure to work with.”

The BIGGER Program is accepting applications for the 2019 program through March 1, 2019. The program is scheduled to begin June 2019. Find more information on the BIGGER Program.