Research Biographies

I have a strong interest in preventable chronic diseases, especially diabetes, and I knew I wanted to use my summer to gain some research experience. Because my husband is in residency in Birmingham, Alabama, and I wanted to spend the summer with him, I looked into research opportunities at University of Alabama at Birmingham. The NIDDK program, based out of Vanderbilt University, has several research sites around the country, and Birmingham was one of them. I applied to the program and had the opportunity to participate!

Based on my desire to do clinical research related to diabetes prevention, I chose Dr. Andrea Cherrington in the Department of Preventive Medicine at UAB as my mentor. I worked on two projects. The first was a "feet on the ground" effort in rural Albertville, Alabama, where our team delivered health surveys to residents with the goal of discerning what kind of interventions would be most helpful and effective for this population. The second project I tackled this summer was a systematic review paper on rural interventions for type 2 diabetes which will be published this fall and will be my first first-author publication.

At the end of the summer research experience, all the students in the NIDDK program had the opportunity to attend a research symposium at Vanderbilt. The symposium was a wonderful experience—after working so hard during the summer, presenting my project was very rewarding! Sessions on career paths in academic medicine and preparing for residency were also held at the symposium; the speakers were very engaging and approachable. The trip to Nashville was all expenses paid, and NIDDK summer research internship at UAB also comes with a generous stipend. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone with a desire to gain experience with the research process or anyone who is interested in diabetes research.

Morgan Lepard





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