Frequently Asked Questions


Who can join the EMRD?


The EMRD is composed of members from varying levels of education and many clinical interests. Our team is primarily undergraduates who have applied to the team through our annual application process occurring every fall. We typically get 50-70 applications per year and are only able to admit 5-6 new team members per application cycle. We are forced to be selective in our application process in order to keep the team at a manageable and efficient size. In addition to our undergraduates, the EMRD is also home to several emergency medicine physicians and residents, medical students, graduate students, foreign medical graduates, and PhD candidates. Prospective members with these credentials are typically not required to go through our annual application process and may request to join at any time. After contacting us, they may be asked to interview with the chiefs. Once interviewed and approved, they may join the team.


What will I get out of joining the EMRD?


You will learn what non-bench research is really about. You will see and experience the process from kicking around an idea to making it fully formed, to writing a protocol and maybe getting some funding, to understanding outcome variables and the importance of statistics, to gathering the data, to analyzing the data and finally making a presentation or publishing your results.


  • Personal Instruction

  • One of the greatest advantages that you will receive as a member of EMRD is nearly unlimited access to medical professionals. EMRD members are free to shadow Dr. Totten or another Emergency Department attending physician during his or her shifts. In fact, all new members are required to shadow Dr. Totten for six hours before they are fully accepted into the EMRD.


    When you shadow Dr. Totten or any of the other attending physicians, they will be teaching you material that is usually covered only in Medical School. This increases your clinical knowledge, which, for premed students, provides a big advantage over your peers.


    "While shadowing Dr. Totten, I learned the ABCs of seeing a patient: Airway, Blood, Circulation, Disability, and Exposure." -Dave Jones


  • Clinical Exposure

  • Increased clinical exposure looks very good on Medical School applications. Clinical exposure is usually very hard to come by. There are many obstacles in other places. Doctors at other institutions may simply be too busy to accommodate would-be shadowers, or local liability laws may prevent other institutions from allowing Emergency Room shadowing. Clinical hours allow you to interact directly with patients and other medical practitioners, just as a real doctor or nurse. Because of this, clinical work has a distinct advantage over lab work, where you sit all day in a lab with minimum human interaction. And since the EMRD expects multi-year commitments from its members, Dr. Totten will get to know you on a very personal level. Because she knows you so well by the time you apply for higher education, she can write very strong letters of recommendation for you.


    Will I earn money?


    Rarely. Occasionally a project has brought in enough money to afford to hire RAs. If so, senior members who are qualified and want to accept this additional obligation will first be offered the positions, then any others who are interested. Such positions may be shorter or longer lasting, and may require additional training.