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Preclinical Years

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The preclinical years of medical school are important for students considering a career in Emergency Medicine.

“The knowledge gained during preclinical years provides the essential foundation for clerkship success,” writes Dr. Shahram Lotfipour, Associate Dean and Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine. 


With so many highly qualified applicants, EM residency programs also look for involvement in extracurricular activities, community service, leadership, and research. According to the 2018 NRMP Program Director Survey:


  • Leadership qualities are cited by 69% of programs as a factor used to make interview decisions.

  • Demonstrated involvement or interest in research is cited by 33% as a factor used to make interview decisions.

  • Volunteer/extracurricular activities are cited by 64% of programs as a factor used to make interview decisions.

In our book, Success in Medical School: Insider Advice for the Preclinical Years, we provide you with a detailed blueprint on how to do just that. 

The preclinical years are an excellent time to build these credentials

3 ways to Build your Credentials in Emergency Medicine as a Preclinical Student

  • At schools with academic emergency medicine departments, there are often opportunities to participate in research during the summer between first and second year. If you're interested in performing EM research during this time, consider applying for the Medical Student Research Grant, which is jointly sponsored by SAEM and the Emergency Medicine Foundation. Medical students are also eligible to apply for a Research Grant from the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association (EMRA)

  • For students interested in community service, Local Action Grants are available through EMRA. Grants are awarded to students for projects that improve community health, such as through education, direct services, or preventive programs. Grants are also awarded for projects that support the specialty through community awareness, advocacy, or involvement with local and state government.

For more information on how to stand out in Emergency Medicine as a preclinical student, turn to our book Success in Medical School: Insider Advice for the Preclinical Years

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