Research is an integral part of medical science. Unfortunately, in Bangladesh medical students get very little scope to do research in their undergraduate curriculum. Even those who want to be a health researcher in future, they often can’t make it due to lack of proper guidance and support. From BUET every year many students are going to abroad to pursue their research career. On the other hand, many medical students even don’t know about these opportunities and how to proceed to have one for themselves.
I asked medical students why do you think BUET students get more chance to study abroad and in answer they said that it’s very easy for BUETians as they have a strong network of seniors studying abroad to guide them throughout the whole process. And it’s actually a fact! So I have decided to elucidate on this matter in my upcoming blog-posts.
Many medical students and young doctors dream of having a PhD from reputed universities around the world. To apply for those positions one must prepare himself/herself step by step. According to me, the first step is to set the goal i.e. finding in which field he/she wants to build research career and also the motivation for choosing that field. (Trust me! you will need this motivation later) Talking about the field choice, let’s discuss today about the available research fields for medical students.
Being a doctor is an advantage in health research career. Because, we have broader perspectives than others. Broadly, there are 3 different research career paths for medical students after graduation- research in basic medical sciences, clinical research and public health research. There may be some research topics which are cross-cutting and encompass more than one fields.
Research in basic medical sciences includes the subjects like pathology, microbiology, parasitology, virology, molecular & cellular biology etc. In Bangladesh one can get M.Phil degree (which is also a research degree) in these subjects (not in all subjects!). To build a career in this field one needs to have lab experiences as well as research experiences. But, in Bangladesh having a good lab experience is difficult as there are less research in this field. One can get lab experience from icddr,b if he/she work in lab department. IEDCR also has a BSL 3 laboratory. BIRDEM and BSMMU also do some laboratory research works.
Clinical Research encompasses the safety and effectiveness of medications, devices, diagnostic products and treatment regimens intended for human use. These may be used for prevention, treatment, diagnosis or for relieving symptoms of a disease. Clinical Research is different from clinical practice. One can apply to clinical PhD program after MBBS; but of course it’s must to have some prior research experiences. Clinical post-graduate degrees like MD, MS, MRCP, MRCS will pave the way to get a clinical PhD. Unfortunately FCPS is not widely recognized outside Bangladesh; So I am not quite sure about how it will help you to have a research position in a developed country! Licensing exams like USMLE and AMC are also good options for clinical research positions in those respective countries.
The last and most popular field is Public health research. In Bangladesh there are lots of opportunities to get involved in public health research and Bangladesh has been considered as one of the most successful countries in public health achievements. One can easily get research experience by working at icddr,b or any other research organizations. There are also many institutions and universities that provide MPH degree i.e. NIPSOM, BSSMU, NSU, James P Grant School of Public Health, AIUB, State University etc. Having an MPH from Bangladesh as well as related research experiences would definitely help you to extend your future research career in this field.
It is very much important to have some research experiences prior to your application and it’s true for all the fields. By research experiences we mean to have some work experience in research projects and/or have some journal publications. Conference papers are not regarded as valuable as journal papers; yet having them in your CV is better than having nothing at all!
Ironically, in Bangladesh medical students do not involve themselves to research works. However if you want to be a researcher in future, you have to stand out the common trend.
To be continued…..