Thomas Jefferson University

Academic Associate Program in Research


Academic Associate Program

Academic Associate Program (AAP) participants work as research assistants to identify and enroll patients into clinical research studies in the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Center City Emergency Department.  This is offered as a Jefferson non-credit program, but internship or course credit may be available through a participant’s home institution. 

AAP at Jefferson continues to provide an immersive and rewarding experience to the highly motivated health sciences student, placing emphasis on critical thinking, professional responsibility, and personal accountability.  It is designed to mirror the rigor of clinical rotations.  Participants are trained to carry out clinical research studies through a combination of didactic and hands-on learning.  Participants develop the necessary skills to identify potential study candidates, perform subject interviews, obtain informed consent, carry out data collection, and process specimens according to study protocols.

Program participants work closely with physicians, nursing staff, and research coordinators on a wide range of studies.  These studies include multicenter NIH-funded and industry-sponsored clinical trials, as well as PI-sponsored studies.  Active areas of investigation include congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, venous thromboembolism and clotting disorders, post-traumatic syndrome, and diabetes management.  Participants work on each one of the studies.

 Through a series of talks delivered by Jefferson physicians and staff, participants gain an understanding of research design methodology, research ethics, data collection, and study-specific topics.  In addition to lecture-based and hands-on training, participants have the opportunity to attend a variety of clinical skills sessions taught by emergency medicine faculty, covering such topics as wound management, ultrasonography, as well as workshops on design in medicine hosted by JeffDESIGN faculty.


Participants must be over the age of eighteen, have completed at least one semester of college, and possess a strong command of written and spoken English.  Previous volunteering, shadowing, or other clinical or related work experience is desirable.