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. FDSRP prepares students through 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 26th 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 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.
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.
Fred Mathieu, Senior Program Coordinator
Fred Mathieu graduated from Regis College with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Master’s degrees in Healthcare Administration and Organizational Communication. He is passionate about advocating for healthcare for underserved communities and bridging the gap between high-quality healthcare and lower-income areas.
How To Apply
Prepare & Submit Your Online Application
- Write your answers to the Essay Questions:
- In 250 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.
- In 250 words or less, please describe your interest in medicine and biomedical research, including what your goals are and how you hope to benefit yourself and others by participating in the Four Directions Summer Research Program.
- Choose a Photo (2in x 2in) – jpg format, less than 1MB.
- Request 2 Letters of Recommendations (you must make these requests).
Recommendation letters may be submitted either:
1. Via Email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 each of your essays and photo.
- Wait for application confirmation screen.
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.