Emergency Medicine

Academic Associate Program

The Academic Associate Program provides premedical and pre-health post-baccalaureate students an opportunity to engage in clinical and translational research activities in the Emergency Department (ED) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania or the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The program also provides a unique opportunity for students to interact with medical school faculty and staff in a high-acuity healthcare environment and develop relationships with faculty to help students prepare for a career in medicine.

The Academic Associate Program is led by two medical directors, Benjamin Abella, MD, MPhil and Joseph Zorc, MD, MSCE. The program is offered during the fall, spring and summer semesters as a two-semester experience. In the first semester, students learn the clinical studies and develop skills to screen potential participants, obtain informed consent where appropriate, interview participants, and collect study data. Students in good standing from the first semester are eligible to continue in the second semester to work individually with a faculty member and study coordinators on a specific research project.


The Academic Associate Program is a competitive research training program for students who are in good academic standing and serious about pursuing a career in healthcare. You should be able to commit to at least two 4-6 hour shifts per week and attend the orientation and research meetings.

Immunization records (measles, mumps and rubella [MMR] and varicella [chickenpox]) and TB screening (PPD test or equivalent) are required.

Students must complete a web-based course sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania or the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on the protection of human subjects in research. Students are encouraged to add this certification and their experience as an Academic Associate to their résumés.

Additional Benefits

  • Interaction with emergency medicine faculty, residents and medical students
  • Letter(s) of recommendation by ED faculty
  • Career guidance
  • Potential to become involved in other research activities.

How to Apply & Learn More

Participation in the program requires advanced planning to complete the credentialing requirements (at least 4-6 weeks for hospital clearances). Contact Marlena Kittick or Tim Vaughan to express your interest in the program and seek additional information about how to apply.