Today, we have a guest blog entry from a current Neuroscience Graduate student who came through the IGP program, Gabrielle Rushing. Here, she writes about a program that she participates in that links our Neuroscience Graduate students with patients and medical training relevant to their research project. Hear from participating students about how this program has impacted their research in a major way!
The big take away?: No matter what you are looking for in a graduate program, make sure there are opportunities there for you to become fully invested in your research!
The Clinical Neuroscience Scholars Program at Vanderbilt
by Gabrielle Rushing
The Clinical Neuroscience Scholars (CNS) Program allows pre-doctoral students in neuroscience to gain experience in Neurology, Neurosurgery or Psychiatry. Students shadow a clinical mentor to gain insight into patient and family experiences of living with a neurological disorder. This program allows access to materials and mentoring within the clinic that typically would only be available to individuals during medical training. The CNS program aims to provide a channel for meaningful communication between researchers, clinicians and patients.
“To hear a pediatric patient’s family say an emotional ‘thank you’ for studying their child’s disease has been one of the most motivating experiences in my graduate career. Each day that I shadow in the clinic gives me an extra push to keep working hard at the bench in hopes that my efforts will one day make life better for children with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. The CNS program truly bridges “bench to bedside” and has already greatly enriched my graduate training at Vanderbilt within my first year as a member.”
“The clinical neuroscience program is simply one of a kind. In less than a year, the program has facilitated collaborations, sparked new avenues of research, and solidified existing ones. Perhaps even more importantly, the new hope you can instill in a patient by letting them know you are working daily on their disease is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll find in the medical field.”
“Seeing a patient with the kind of disease you are working on is rewarding beyond words and totally different than anything you could possibly experience in a traditional classroom.”
“Experience is vital to success and while biomedical PhD programs give graduate students lots of bench science opportunities, the ability to see the potential impact of your project through the eyes of a patient, their families and the treating physicians is an extremely meaningful and key experience that is largely undervalued as part of the curriculum. The CNS program is a daily reminder that what we do as researchers is priceless – that our time, effort, passion for science and our want to make an impact on the world at large is an attainable goal.”
“This has opened my eyes into what research questions to ask and to think about how precision in deep brain stimulation is really important. That is something you don’t get when you are just doing your bench work.”
“I come from a field of research that tends to discredit qualitative parental reports-we want to see it ourselves through experimental manipulation and numbers, but what I’ve learned is that parents are some of the best sources for informing your research. I might be the one getting a degree in neuroscience, but they have a PhD in their child.”
“It is amazing to see the same electrophysiological techniques I use every day be utilized to make a direct and beneficial impact on someone’s life.”
To find out more and for Vanderbilt students to apply, get more information here!