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With the aim to expand and develop scientific talent in academic orthopaedic surgery, the UAB Department of Orthopaedic Surgery offers fellowships to medical students who have an interest in research and orthopaedic surgery.

Our Medical Student Orthopaedic Research Fellowship (MSORF) program provides funding to support medical students to spend a summer focusing on orthopaedic surgery research, training in scientific methods and techniques, and learning how to incorporate research into a medical career.

MSORF fellowships are awarded through an annual application cycle.


Summer Program

The UAB Orthopaedic Surgery Department’s Medical Student Orthopaedic Research Fellowship – Summer Program provides medical students in their first, second, or third year with a challenging and rewarding eight-week research experience that exposes them to the opportunities within the medical science of orthopaedic surgery.

Medical students who participate in the summer orthopaedic surgery research fellowship can expect:

  • A dedicated mentor who will provide guidance and training in research techniques and scientific methods
  • Eight-weeks of focused research related to orthopaedic surgery
  • Opportunities to learn about the clinical practice of orthopaedic surgery
  • The opportunity to make a scientific presentation at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery (or local ortho groups) annual meeting
  • A $4,800 stipend to cover relocation, housing, and/or health insurance, plus up to $1,500 to cover travel and expenses for studies/posters accepted at meetings (Note: this stipend and travel funding may be subject to taxes as determined by the policy of the Host institution.)
  • AAOS student membership (or Gladden Society) dues for the year

2024 Application Dates/Timeline

  • Application Opens – March 1, 2024
  • Application Deadline – April 15, 2024
  • Award/Selection Notices – April 30, 2024
  • Fellowships begin – June 3, 2024
  • Fellowship ends – July 26, 2024
  • Abstracts due – September 10, 2024


Eligibility Requirements

At the time of the application, applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements.

  • Medical student enrolled full-time at a S.-based medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). View a list of accredited medical education programs.


Medical student with U.S. citizenship enrolled full-time at a Canada-based medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). View a list of accredited medical education programs.

  •  Medical student who is in the first, second, or third year of school at the time of the application deadline and will remain enrolled in an M.D.


Additional Information

Housing and Travel

Medical students are responsible for arranging housing and travel. If you match into the program, we will provide you with the name and contact information of the program coordinator in our department, who may be able to provide housing recommendations.

Research Programs and Projects

Orthopaedic surgery departments across the United States host medical student fellows at their institutions for summer research experiences. During the application process, we will provide a list of potential mentors and their available projects that a student could join.

As a part of the application process, students will review the available mentors. In the application, students can select up to five mentors with whom they would like to have their MSORF experience.

If matched into the program, the student and program director will work together to identify which of the approved mentors the student will be working with.


Preparing an Application

The following materials are required for all MSORF Summer Program student applications.

Curriculum Vitae

Provide an up-to-date curriculum vitae that outlines educational background and communicates experience in research and other professional and educational activities.

Essay Questions

Prepare thoughtful responses to each of the three questions. All responses should demonstrate interest in research with an emphasis in orthopaedic surgery and perioperative medicine.

  • Question No. 1: List any orthopaedic surgery or perioperative medicine experience.
  • Question No. 2: How have you advanced or advocated for diversity, equity, and inclusion and/or reducing health disparities and improving health care and health care access for underserved communities.
  • Question No. 3: In 250 words or fewer, describe, as well as possible, how your race, national origin, ethnicity, disability, or gender has impacted your character, ambition, work ethic, life experiences, and goals in a positive or negative way.
Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation should be provided that evaluate the applicant’s quality of character, academic performance, and interest in a career in research. A PDF of each letter of recommendation should be provided to the applicant for uploading with their application. At least one of these letters should be from the student’s recent graduate or undergraduate institution.

Letter of Good Standing

A PDF of a letter of good standing should be provided to the applicant for uploading with the application. The letter of good standing from the dean’s office should confirm the applicant’s enrollment and good standing for the duration of the fellowship.

Program Selection

Review list of mentors available for the 2024 MSORF Summer Program. On the application, select up to five preferred mentors for the MSORF experience. If matched with a preferred mentor, the applicant will work with the program coordinator to finalize exactly which approved mentor the student will work with.


Evaluation and Award Selection and Match Process

Evaluation of Student Applications

Student applications for the MSORF Summer Program are reviewed by the MSORF review committee. Each application receives a final score and is ranked among all other applications. Members of the committee include leaders in academic UAB Orthopaedic Surgery, as well as several members of the HSOM. Applicants are scored on categories such as:             

  • Strength of undergraduate and graduate work
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Experience and interest in the fields of orthopaedic surgery and perioperative medicine
  • If they have faced challenging social, economic, educational, cultural, or other life circumstances
  • If they are first generation college students
  • If they have demonstrated a commitment to bringing diverse people together
  • If they have demonstrated a commitment to advancing and advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion, health equity and/or addressing health disparities
  • If they have demonstrated a commitment to working with underrepresented or disadvantaged populations
  • If they have demonstrated achievement and determination in the face of personal challenges
  • If they have demonstrated overcoming or helping others to overcome barriers - this could include, but is not limited, to economical or educational barriers
  • If they have lived in a particular county, rural area, country, or other geographic location


Summer Fellowship Match Process

  • During the application process, students are asked to list their top five desired mentors. After the applications are scored and ranked, placement preference is given to the highest-ranking applicant. Students are matched in order of rank to one of the preferred mentors on their application.


Fellowship Responsibilities

Before the fellowship:

  • Communicate with the UAB HSOM Orthopaedic Surgery Department to select the mentor with whom you will work and determine your project.

During the fellowship:

  • Dedicate 40 hours per week to the fellowship for eight consecutive weeks. Absences during this time are not allowed.
  • Actively participate in research and didactic activities within the Orthopaedic Surgery department.
  • Dedicate six hours per week (15 percent of total time) to observation and participation in a clinical Orthopaedic Surgery setting.

After the fellowship:

  • Complete the post-fellowship survey, which we will email to you.
  • Optional, but highly recommended: Present research findings based on your national or local Orthopaedic Surgery conference.

For additional questions or information, please contact Fred Horton at fhorton@uabmc.edu.