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Research Quick Start Guide

It can be a little intimidating to start a new research project at a new institution.  Rest assured that the Office of Research is here to help and support your efforts.  We have put together this quick start guide to help you manage this process.

  • Look at the Research Resources on the RVU Office of Research website.
  • Join the RVU Research Opportunities and Interest Groups on Microsoft Teams.
  • Find an ongoing research project or develop your research question.  *Please note that students are responsible for finding a research project to join if they do not want to develop their own project.  The Director of Research will not assign students to projects, but may post opportunities for student participation on Microsoft Teams.
    • Do a literature dive into your topic and see what is already known.
    • Assess the quality of your question using either the PICOT or FINER criteria.
      • Does your research include the necessary components?
        • P=population – Who is the subject of your question?
        • I=intervention – What do you plan to expose your subjects to?
        • C=comparison – Is there an alternative exposure/experience (not always needed)?
        • O-outcomes What do you plan to accomplish, improve or affect (should be measurable)?
        • T=time frame – What is the timeframe for your study (can be in the past)?
      • Is your research question worth answering?
        • F=feasible –Can it be answered with available time, money, space or other resources?
        • I=interesting is it interesting to you and is it interesting to others in the field?
        • N=novel Will the answers advance knowledge in the field?
        • E=ethical Will any physical or psychological harm come to anyone as a result of the research?
        • R=relevant How might answers to this question improve educational methods or patient care?
      • Use a good reference manager to organize what you are finding. The Office of research suggests Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote.  Note that Zotero and Mendeley are both free but EndNote requires a license.
    • Write your question, hypothesis and, if possible, a preliminary experimental design prior to approaching a mentor.
    • Contact potential research mentors or reach out to the director of research to help connect with a mentor.
    • Complete the Student Research Approval Form – This form must be completed before beginning any research project and turned into either the clerkship director (for credit for OMS IV) or the director of research (no credit). Note that OMS III students may be eligible to participate in research for credit on a case by case basis.
    • Complete CITI Training for research (Reach out to Laura Dement for instructions).
    • Obtain IRB Approval if necessary – Determine which application to submit and request form from the IRB Compliance Officer Laura Dement (
    • A CRT event request may be necessary for certain projects that require the study team to work together in person with volunteers. Currently, the reintegration plan of the Department of Research and Scholarly Activity has approval for groups up to 10 people as long as individuals are not in close (<6 ft) proximity for more than 15 minutes.  However, this would still need approval.  Use the following iNet form:
    • Complete your Conflict of Interest Form and send it to Laura Dement.
    • If you are doing a survey-based research project after June 1, 2021, you can request a Qualtrics account from the office of research ( Please note that all IRB-approved surveys of students will be distributed either via email through the Office of Research, or with approval of the director and the IRB, they can be posted on the Teams page for surveys.  IRB-approved surveys of the faculty and staff will be distributed via email through the Office of Research.

Please make sure to complete the Research and Scholarly Activity Tracking Form upon acceptance of any publication or presentation.  Additionally, you may complete a travel funding request to present your work at a conference.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out.

Happy Researching!

Dr. Amanda Brooks
Director of research and Scholarly Activity



Anthony J. LaPorta MD,FACS,FACOS, COL.(ret) US Army
Colorado Campus

Where is your hometown?

What do you enjoy when not at RVU (family life, interests, and hobbies)?
I am an avid skier, and golfer although I am not very good at either. I've been lucky enough to play ball into my mid 60s to late 60s, to laugh you should see me pitching or even worse trying to run past first base even though I hit the ball to the wall down the line and left field and never could get a second. I love watching my family playing sports especially my sons and grandson having played football, lacrosse, and all of them are just about as bad at me at golf but it is a hoot to be together. My daughter has become one of the bells of my life as she has special interest especially in motor sports and other activities that we get to do together including just hanging around which is probably the best. It goes without saying that the strength for all of this comes from the foundation of our family, my wife Mary. Sharing memories with my family has truly become a past time that I love. Just to give you an idea one of my fondest memories is having turned the wrong way on a Swiss ski resort, the fictitious but legendary James Bond also chased the Bad Guy Ernst Stavro Blofeld down what was called the Eiger glacier. Petrified we did make it all down but my daughter swore she would never ski with me again.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
During my career with the Wisconsin air national guard. The unit was called the 128th airfield group. I became a flight surgeon and in those days you actually had to learn how to fly the plane from the right seat. We had many really interesting flights but the one that sticks out the most was we were flying from Milwaukee Wisconsin to Panama City Panama. The call sign of the airplane was Utah 67. It was an extremely large aircraft called KC 97 that had eight turbo props and a top speed of 197 knots. Our flight surgeons at the time were required to have time in the right seat of the aircraft and I was in the right seat leaving the United States in New Orleans air space. Suddenly air traffic control called as I was flying the plane with the following quote " Utah 67 – would you please turn the controls of that aircraft over to someone that knows how to fly it. We are worried." To say the least that cost me a couple rounds of beer with my friends the fellow people on the aircraft I had to swear would never tell the story although now it has fine memories.

How long have you been doing research?
My first research project started as a senior in medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin. It was with two absolutely legendary physicians, Robert Condon and Joe Geenen. Dr. Condon is best known as the person who developed the bowel prep that saved millions of people from both death and having to have multiple operations with any problem having to do with the colon. Dr. Geenen is essentially the person that developed ERCP. I'll never forget the patient although Hippa now stopped me from telling you his name. He was quite a character and we had identified that he was actually bleeding from a pseudo cyst eroding into a vascular structure in his pancreas. This now seems like an easy diagnosis however it was impossible to diagnose without the invention of ERCP which Dr. Geenen did the time. Sort of like now when the cut suit has now become famous but nobody knew about it before we started to work on it with Strategic Operations. We wrote this up and it started my career. Shortly after that I was lucky enough to identify a cell that turned off the immune system call the suppressor cell. Now of course that has gone on to the identification of the interleukins and proteins that are actually produced by various T cells. This presentation at the Society of University Surgeons triple continent meeting in Philadelphia the week after the world heard about legionnaires disease at the same hotel, the Fairmont in Philadelphia , ended up being the reason I was invited to the University of Oxford which in my mind made all the rest of my career possible.

Where did you get your undergraduate? What was your degree?
I did not graduate from undergraduate school as things were different in those days. I actually had only 92 credits towards a bachelors degree but somehow must've done more than pretty good on the MCAT as I was accepted into medical school and the rest somehow just happened.

What type of research are you currently doing at RVU?
1. My longtime colleague and close friend BG(Ret) Dr Robert Enzenauer we have change the type of lighting that is used on the battlefield away from white light and simply red light to a red green combination that allows one to see blood but not be identified by the enemy. In addition that same company called First Light is now developing a series of other technology we are doing research on that I really can't describe more than it will allow us to do hands-free control of many situation's that will allow us to do remote training and remote surgery in both combat situation and civilian first responder situation.

2. I think most everybody in the world right now and knows that the research we have been doing on surgical education and immersion training has produced beyond spectacular results. The open surgical trainer "the cut suit" has truly now emerged as the substitute for many nights of being up and attempting to make decisions on a live person that would frequently have resulted in catastrophes as we were learning as young doctors. This set of experiences can now be placed into simulation but with a live person being operated on but in the "cut suit. In addition such events as intensive surgical skills week truly allows us to experience the stress and fear of failure without hurting a human being.

3. Somehow all of this has morphed into an understanding of what makes a person resilient, and an understanding of emotional intelligence. This is somehow related to not only the depression identified in medical students and residents but also the PTSD identified in soldiers and first responders. Prompted by Admiral retired Clint Adams along with Dr. Rebecca Ryznar and our colleagues from South Metro Fire and Police including Lt.Ryan Shelton it appears that somehow we have begun to identify some of the root causes of how the status on a bio chemical basis. This in addition to work with Captain Tuan Hoang, Dr. Reginald Franciose, Dr. Marian Safaoui, Dr. Matthew Pena, Dr. Natalie Nevins, Dr Gail Singer-Chang, Dr Michael Czekajlo, Dr German Berbel, Dr. Alan Moloff , Dr. Roy Alson ,Jerry Marlin and our latest colleagues from Touro Nevada Dr. Brad Havins and Dave Clegg has somehow made this vision of training without hurting a reality.

Dr Rebecca Ryznar has now added an entirely new level of understanding to our biochemical quest to understand how this picture of education fits together to make better doctors and human beings.

Anything else you would like to share:
I cannot be prouder of our team here at RVU. Dr Bruce Dubin(ret dean), Dr Tom Told, Dr Dave Ross, Dr Sue Carter, Dr Joel Roberts, Dr. Ryznar and by far most importantly Deidre McGee. Deidre has been the absolute solid care taker of the entire project. Without her it could not have been held together .I slate them all. I hope I have not forgotten any. The students search for answers has fueled it all.Perhaps more than any Dr Charles Hutchinson's success in life after the start of the projects fueled us the hardest.The Best part is I know under the leadership of Dr Dean Gubler this will all continue.

This is all founded on the rock fueled by my wife. That is that the heart of of a person is good, and that hard work and partnership is how to get it done. Thank you to my family.

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Eric Haskell, PAS
Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Class of 2021

Colorado Campus

Where is your hometown?
Englewood, CO

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests, and hobbies)?
Adventures with my girlfriend and 10-year-old herding dog, climbing mountains via rock faces, descending mountains on skis, enjoying home-cooked meals with friends around a campfire after a long day outside.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
I've flown into various ranges of Colorado for mountain rescue via several different helicopter's including A-Stars, Blackhawks and Chinooks.

How long have you been doing research?
This past year has been my first experience conducting research.

Where did you get your undergraduate? What was your degree?
I received my Bachelors of Art in Philosophy at University of Montana

What type of research are you currently doing at RVU?
My current research looks at the prevalence of traumatic events and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in professional and recreational alpine sports. Prior to being a student at RVU, I worked and recreated in the mountains. I saw numerous accidents and felt their effects on the communities I lived among. PTSD research over the years has expanded from veterans to include other high risk professions and I wanted to further that research. My research will be published in The Avalanche Review this month.

Anything else you would like to share:
Descartes separated the mind from the body; however, my studies in philosophy and medicine have shown me that the two are more interconnected than we think. As future health care professionals, it is important that we contemplate and treat the whole patient, not just one part.

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