Shannon Christian

In this weekly blog, staff reporter Shannon Christian writes about the myths of healthcare and how it impacts students.

Dr. Germ: clinical research

Innovation, and subsequently all revelations and advances in the medical field, begin with research. From elementary years, students in science classes are encouraged to participate in scientific experiments, noting observations on chemical reactions, or even hypothesizing an outcome. Clinical research is the basis of the medical field and how patient care is able to persist through time. 

Considering how most medical methods and devices were created, research definitely is the most pertinent aspect of clinical work, even if research is not seen as a clinical job such as a nurse or doctor. Vaccines, for example, were created when Edward Jenner removed fluid from a cowpox wart on a woman and injected it into a young boy. The boy was immune to smallpox due to this administration as it was the same virus as cowpox. Had Jenner not performed this high-risk research, we would not have access to vaccines, leaving pandemics like Covid-19 to be fatal for many. 

In recent years, clinical research has become more sophisticated as more labs receive funding and more students in school join researchers to conduct trials. From an academic perspective, research allows a student to gain hands-on experience in a laboratory setting with a qualified specialist. This not only enables them to receive immense knowledge but also can indicate a field of interest in which they can focus on within their career. Many medical schools also are more inclined to accept students who have shown dedication in research, who contribute to the growing knowledge within the medical field. 

Last year, the leading innovations in medical technology as a result of extensive research included treatment for type 2 diabetes, mRNA vaccinology, and treatment for postpartum depression. For some of these health concerns, such as postpartum depression, the recent discovery of their existence through research has propelled further investigation into how to alleviate an issue that affects a large percentage of the population. Since clinical research focuses on human subjects, and how the human body can respond to treatment, it can pave the way for healthier generations. 

For students who will become the future of medicine, by participating in the accumulation of knowledge, and the growth of the field, students are able to lead the frontier of medical innovation. With more funding, and helping hands available for clinical research, that initial drive from science experiments of the past can uncover the cure for major ailments of the current human population. 

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