Four Directions Summer ResearchProgram Overview

We have two decades of experience with providing a uniquely tailored program to those with the desire to serve Native American communities through science and medicine.

Researching in the lab.

The focus of activity during the summer is participation in a cutting edge basic science research project. Students are assigned a medical school faculty mentor who works closely with them to ensure completion of a laboratory-based research project over the 8-week summer period.

By the end of the summer, participants will:

  • Develop an increased understanding of the scientific method
  • Create long lasting mentoring relationships with Harvard Medical School faculty
  • Understand the medical school graduate school application process
  • Understand their career options in medicine, public health, and biomedical science
  • Become more aware of minority health and Native American health care issues
  • Participate in creation of a network of students pursuing careers in medicine

FDSRP students complete an 8-week research project under the direction of a Harvard Medical School Faculty Mentor, ending with a final project presentation. Activities include clinical shadowing, a weekly career development seminar, and a weekly talking circle. Students will leave Harvard Medical School with new skills, experiences, and knowledge that can be used to help themselves, their communities, and future generations of Native peoples from all of the Four Directions.

Our previous participants say:

“The program paired me up with great mentors and role well as peers with similar goals and dreams. This provided a great atmosphere where hard work became fun, and academic achievement could be directly applied to meaningful results and relationships.”

“I have learned so many valuable lessons and more research strategies than I have before in my life just in these past 2 months! I loved the dynamic of the lab and how extremely diverse everyone and everything was.”

“This program helped me fully realize how competitive the application process to medical school is. It also provided a lot of great information on how to apply, what to expect, and was a great networking tool for educators and peers.”

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Hailey Wilson

Hailey Wilson fondly remembers her time spent with the Four Directions Summer Research Program (FDSRP). She was first intrigued by the program because she saw it as a great opportunity to gain exposure to the extensive medical community that Boston has to offer. Living in the city was vastly different from life on the Nez Perce reservation in Lapwai, Idaho; however she made the transition quickly by forming supportive, lasting friendships with her fellow students. Hailey didn’t waste any time exploring her new surroundings, by accompanying fellow FDSRP participants on Duck Tours, a Powwow and a camping trip to New Hampshire.

While making new friends was just a small part of the FDSRP experience, the work that Hailey did while in Boston helped her decide to pursue a path in clinical medicine rather than research. She also reflects that participating in the FDSRP made her more aware and better prepared to overcome the unique challenge of getting into medical school. A recent graduate of Boise State University, Hailey feels that her unique degree in Health Science Studies and minor in Biology will allow her more freedom and greater flexibility to further her career. Ms. Wilson plans to attend a MCAT prep program at the University of North Dakota this summer. After receiving her medical degree from either the University of Washington, or the University of North Dakota (her top two choices) her primary goal is to become a family practice physician. She has worked to make herself very aware of the challenges faced by rural physicians, as she wants to specialize in rural medicine while working with disadvantaged Native American populations.