Pathway to PLAN [Discovery 2015-16 students]

In Curriculum 2.0, all students must complete a 3-6 month research project during the Immersion Phase.  To facilitate this process and ensure that students and mentors are prepared for the Research Immersion, the Office of Medical Student Research has designed the Pathway to PLAN.  This process sets guideposts and milestones on the road to the PLAN course in which the student (with the mentor and faculty input) designs their project plan which will be implemented during Research Immersion.  

The following is a guide to the Pathway to PLAN which is completed in REDCap (links are below or are sent directly to students).  

This information pertains to the Class of 2018 ONLY

(MD students entering Immersion in September 2016)


Step 1:  Initial Student Information and Interests   *Required of all 2nd year MD Students by DECEMBER 18, 2015

All students in the second year complete this form which gathers information on the student's initial research interests and probable/possible mentors and projects. This is the first opportunity for students to designate which section of PLAN they are intending to take, however students may change their decision at anytime through the process until the posted deadline for the intended block.  (NOTE:  this is a deadline set by the Office of Medical Student Research NOT the registration deadline.  The Pathway to PLAN deadlines are to ensure time for full review and Research Director approval of project prior to the start of PLAN)

Students should utilize the approved mentor lists provided by the Research Directors as a starting point in their exploration of possible projects and mentors.  

Following submission of Step 1 by students, the Office of Medical Student Research and the Research Directors review the information and offer feedback to students based on their interests and needs.  Students may review approved mentor lists for ideas on projects and mentors and discuss alternatives with Research Directors, who are content experts and can assist students in connecting with mentors and projects that align with student interests and goals.  

Students then may start meeting with possible mentors about projects.

Step 2:    Student/Mentor meeting reports   *Required of all 2nd year MD Students by MARCH 14, 2016 

Students are encouraged to meet with multiple possible mentors so that they can find the right mentor and project for their interests.  

The following are resources provided by The Office of Medical Student Research to help facilitate conversations with possible mentors.


Step 3:  Student Project and Mentor Agreement   *Required submission by MAY 1, 2016 - ONLY students preparing for September PLAN course  

In this step of the Pathway to PLAN, students will meet with their project mentor and complete the Mentor Agreement form.  This form (available in Word to allow for flexibility in completion) will facilitate the important discussions regarding specific project information to best enable student and mentor to fully prepare for the Research Immersion.  Student and Mentor will work to develop the student's specific aims, discuss compliance issues and timing of Research Immersion blocks.  

Student may complete the Word document form with the mentor, it must be printed and submitted with the mentor's signature via upload to the REDCap form.  If there are any technical difficulties with this process, please contact vms.research@vanderbilt.edu for alternatives.


Step 4:  Research Immersion Planning Form *Required submission by JULY 1, 2016 - ONLY students preparing for September PLAN course

In this final step of the Pathway to PLAN, students will have the opportunity to provide final details of the project they will be working on during the Immersion.

REVIEW: The Office of Medical Student Research will prepare a document based on the student's previous submissions (Steps 1-3) and provide this to the student and mentor (in the first week of June for September 2016 students) for review and edits to be submitted by the student to OMSR by July 1, 2016.  

PROJECT PLAN: Students will also submit the first section of their Project Plan that they will fully complete during the month-long PLAN course.  It will be important to have the mentor's input on this document.  This is an ideal time to discuss PLAN and the need for student and mentor to meet or be in contact during that month.  Mentor input and feedback on the project plan submissions is vital.  The course sessions are held every Tuesday from 1:00 - 5:00 PM. During each session, students meet in small groups working with faculty to further develop their projects. Students should make arrangements to meet with mentors throughout the month.  Assignments will be due each week and will be reviewed and assessed by course faculty. If co-enrolled in another course, students should be aware that the PLAN course is fast-paced and does require out of class work and meetings with your mentor.

SUBMIT: The final documents submitted (thru REDCap) by July 1, 2016 will be reviewed by the Research Directors and OMSR and projects will be approved and assigned a final research area.  If there are any questions or concerns, Research Directors/OMSR will reach out to the student for clarification.  Once approved, students will be registered for PLAN.

REGISTER: In addition students must enroll for their Research Immersion Blocks to follow September PLAN (IDIS 6001-6005) by July 1.

Step 2:    Student/Mentor meeting reports   *Required of all 2nd year MD Students by OCTOBER 3, 2016 

Students are encouraged to meet with multiple possible mentors so that they can find the right mentor and project for their interests.  

The following are resources provided by The Office of Medical Student Research to help facilitate conversations with possible mentors.


Step 3:  Student Project and Mentor Agreement   *Required submission by November 1, 2016

In this step of the Pathway to PLAN, students will meet with their project mentor and complete the Mentor Agreement form.  This form (available in Word to allow for flexibility in completion) will facilitate the important discussions regarding specific project information to best enable student and mentor to fully prepare for the Research Immersion.  Student and Mentor will work to develop the student's specific aims, discuss compliance issues and timing of Research Immersion blocks.  

Student may complete the Word document form with the mentor, it must be printed and submitted with the mentor's signature via upload to the REDCap form.  If there are any technical difficulties with this process, please contact vms.research@vanderbilt.edu for alternatives.


Step 4:  Research Immersion Planning Form *Required submission by January 20, 2017

In this final step of the Pathway to PLAN, students will have the opportunity to provide final details of the project they will be working on during the Immersion.

REVIEW: The Office of Medical Student Research will prepare a document based on the student's previous submissions (Steps 1-3) and provide this to the student and mentor (in the first week of June for September 2016 students) for review and edits to be submitted by the student to OMSR by January 20, 2017.

PROJECT PLAN: Students will also submit the first section of their Project Plan that they will fully complete during the month-long PLAN course.  It will be important to have the mentor's input on this document.  This is an ideal time to discuss PLAN and the need for student and mentor to meet or be in contact during that month.  Mentor input and feedback on the project plan submissions is vital.  The course sessions are held every Tuesday from 1:00 - 5:00 PM. During each session, students meet in small groups working with faculty to further develop their projects. Students should make arrangements to meet with mentors throughout the month.  Assignments will be due each week and will be reviewed and assessed by course faculty. If co-enrolled in another course, students should be aware that the PLAN course is fast-paced and does require out of class work and meetings with your mentor.

SUBMIT: The final documents submitted (thru REDCap) by January 20, 2017 will be reviewed by the Research Directors and OMSR and projects will be approved and assigned a final research area.  If there are any questions or concerns, Research Directors/OMSR will reach out to the student for clarification.  Once approved, students will be registered for PLAN.

REGISTER: In addition students must enroll for their Research Immersion Blocks to follow September PLAN (IDIS 6001-6005) by January 20, 2017.

MARCH 2017 PLAN:  Block 3 runs March 6 - March 31, 2017.  So, our Tuesday course sessions will be on March 7, 14, 21, and 28 from 1:00 - 5:00 PM on the 4th floor of Light Hall.