The Four Directions Summer Research Program (FDSRP) is a unique summer research opportunity at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) for undergraduate rising sophomores, juniors and seniors with a commitment to the health of Native American communities. Students engage in a basic science research project under the direction of a Harvard Medical School Faculty Mentor. Additional activities include clinical shadowing, career development seminars, weekly Talking Circles, networking events and more. Upon completion of the program, students leave BWH and HMS with new skills, experiences and knowledge that can be used to empower themselves, their communities and future generations of Native peoples from all Four Directions.
The mission of the Four Directions Summer Research Program (FDSRP) is to train the next generation of leaders in Native American health care. With the support of our Office for Research Careers (ORC), FDSRP is able to prepare students with mentoring, networking, and hands on research experience under the guidance of Harvard Medical School faculty.
To provide students with tools, information and opportunities on their journey to becoming physicians, researchers and public health professionals; as well as role models and teachers in the academic community. To create an extensive network of health professionals dedicated to Indigenous Health Care that will serve as a venue for knowledge sharing, nationwide mentoring and advocacy. To cultivate students’ understanding and awareness of Native American health issues and minority health issues more broadly.
The Four Directions Summer Research Program was founded by Native American students attending Harvard Medical School. These students shared a common vision of increasing educational and career opportunities for promising Native American students. With the help of a few devoted medical school faculty, the program was launched in 1994 with the successful enrollment of 6 students for the first summer. FDSRP is now in its 28th year and has brought over 200 students to Harvard Medical School during this time.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Center for Diversity & Inclusion
Thorn 13 Suite 1304
20 Shattuck Street
Boston, MA 02115-6054
Watch: 1st Generation Journeys at Harvard Medical School
- Eight-week research experience. Students work with their lab mentor to submit an abstract of their summer research and share their research findings during a final research presentation day.
- Clinical shadowing. Students have two half-days to shadow clinicians spanning a wide range of disciplines at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
- Talking Circle. Talking Circle is a traditional component of Native American culture. Students meet weekly with Program Director Tom Sequist to discuss a variety of topics over dinner.
- Professional and Career Development Workshops. Students meet regularly with faculty from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) to discuss topics such as MD/PhD programs, medical school admissions, health policy, interviewing and presentation skills.
- Social & Networking Events. Group dinners and barbecues, sight-seeing around Boston, networking events with Harvard Medical Students and more.
- Transportation to and from Boston. Our team covers the complete cost of travel to and from Boston. This includes your flight/bus to and from Boston Logan Airport as well as your travel from Boston Logan Airport to your housing residence, and vice versa upon departure. We also provide students with a $75 USD subway pass for transportation while in Boston.
- Housing. Our program provides housing free of charge for the entire length of the eight-week program. We also provide pots, pans and other utensils for meal preparation.
- Living stipend. FDSRP and ORC provides each student a stipend of $5,000 for the eight-week program.
Select program meals and social activities. Includes light breakfasts and lunches during workshops, weekly dinners for Talking Circle, and food, transportation and tickets for program-specific social activities.
Imoigele P. Aisiku, MD, MBA
Associate Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Dr. Aisiku is an Associate Professor and Vice-Chair for Diversity and Equity and the Director of the office of IDEaS in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Aisiku is also the Chief of the Division of Emergency Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Aisiku also serves as a BWPO Board of Trustee member. As a clinician scholar, Dr. Aisiku has many interests and has served in numerous leadership roles at BWH but has a passion for diversity and community service that spans before his BWH years. In particular he has a passion for being involved in the community and helping to develop young minds from different backgrounds and in particular disadvantaged backgrounds and give them an opportunity to succeed. He is committed to advancing DE&I efforts in his department and through collaborations with the BWH CDI throughout the hospital as well.
Tom Sequist MD, MPH
Dr. Sequist is the Chief Patient Experience and Equity Officer at Mass General Brigham. In this role he leads system wide strategies for improving patient experience and health care equity, while also leading core programs in quality and safety. He is a member of the Taos Pueblo tribe in New Mexico and is committed to improving Native American health care.
How To Apply
Prepare & Submit Your Online Application
- Write your Personal Statement
Please describe in 400-750 words your educational and professional goals, and how your participation in the BWH Four Directions Summer Research Program will assist in meeting your goals. Be sure to articulate your qualifications and reasons for wishing to participate in the program. Please upload your personal statement to the application as a word document or PDF file. Be sure to include your last name as a header on all pages.
- Write your answer to the Essay Question: In 150 words or less, please describe your involvement in the Native American Community. Please be sure to include any hobbies, cultural activities or volunteer work that may demonstrate your contribution to the lives of Native People.
- Send your Unofficial Transcript: Please have them sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org (PDF format)
- Request 2 Letters of Recommendations (you must make these requests).
Recommendation letters must be submitted :
Via Email to email@example.com
Letter should be emailed as a PDF document and include an official letterhead at the top.
Letter must be emailed DIRECTLY by the letter writer.
- Complete online application and upload your essay.
- Wait for application confirmation screen
Important Dates & Deadlines
November 15, 2023
2022 Program Dates:
Monday, June 3, 2024 – Thursday, July 25, 2024
All FDSRP Required Supporting Materials must be received by our office by: January 15, 2024
Do I have to be Native American/Alaskan Native to apply?
Anyone with a demonstrated commitment to the health of Native American communities is welcome to apply to our program. However, we strongly encourage Native American/Alaskan Native students to apply.
How much is the research stipend?
The research stipend for the eight-week program is $5,000 USD. You will receive the first half of the stipend in the amount of $2,500 USD at the beginning of the eight-week program, and the second half at the end of the program.
Do I need prior research experience to be a competitive applicant?
No. Many of our students enter the program with no prior lab experience. Our program places you with a Harvard Medical School lab mentor who will guide you through your research and make themselves available to answer any questions throughout the process.
Where are we housed during the program?
FDSRP students are housed at the MassArt School of Design Artists’ Residence for the eight-week program. The Artists’ Residence is apartment-style housing with individual rooms and a shared kitchen area. The Artists’ Residence is walking distance to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, making it easy to get to and from lab each day.
How do I arrange my travel for the program?
Our team books your travel internally and covers the complete cost of travel to and from Boston. This includes your flight/bus to and from Boston Logan Airport as well as your travel from Boston Logan Airport to your housing at MassArt Artists’ Residence, and vice versa upon departure.