Armaan Ahmed Rowther began conducting clinical research with the UCI Emergency Medicine Research Associates Program the summer before his second year. While his work there has helped him develop skills and techniques that he will use throughout his career, Armaan considers the Emergency Department human contacts to be the most valuable part of his research. These contacts have given him an appreciation of the real importance of health care—the impact it has on real people. Armaan hopes to pursue research further by applying for a research fellowship in Jordan under the Fulbright U.S. Student Program prior to studying toward a career as a physician scientist through a joint MD-PhD in public health. UROP salutes Armaan’s dedication for applying his research to improving the lives of the people around him.

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?

I conduct clinical research with the UCI Emergency Medicine Research Associates Program (EMRAP) under Dr. Shahram Lotfipour and Dr. Bharath Chakravarthy. I currently serve as coordinator of a National Institute of Health multicenter study under Dr. Mark Langdorf that is seeking to create a clinical decision instrument for selective thoracic radiography in blunt trauma.

2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

In my first year studying Public Health and Biological Sciences at UCI, I became dedicated to finding a clinical research project to which I could dedicate myself for the rest of my undergraduate career. I first learned about EMRAP through a UCI medical student whom I had met during the Diversity in Medicine course, a lecture series on the disparities in healthcare which is hosted by UCI each winter. Upon further research into the program, I quickly recognized the unique experience offered by EMRAP’s combination of research and clinical experience, so I was motivated to become involved, applied that spring break, started training and began research that summer before my second year.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

In EMRAP, I benefit from first-hand experience through patient interaction in the Emergency Department, faculty mentorship from the UCI School of Medicine, and the opportunity to contribute directly to multiple clinical research projects. In addition to making meaningful and lasting contributions toward the generation of new knowledge in the field of emergency medicine, the time I have invested and experiences I have gained in EMRAP have better prepared me for the realities of practicing medicine in the future, especially for the diverse and unique challenges of emergency medicine. Furthermore, clinical research has given me the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with faculty mentors, resident researchers and fellow premedical students while also vastly expanding my medical communication skills through extensive interaction with patients.

4. What has been your favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

While I could never enumerate my many fond memories and positive experiences in EMRAP, those with the most profound impact on me were the everyday experiences at the UCI Medical Center. My time approaching and interacting with Emergency Medicine patients and trauma victims from all walks of life has made me intimately aware of the human tragedies of violence and poverty as well as disease and death. These experiences have helped show me the meaning and truth of the reminder to physicians within the Hippocratic Oath “that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug […] that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.”

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

I hope to continue pursuing opportunities in research by applying for a research fellowship in Jordan under the Fulbright U.S. Student Program prior to studying toward a career as a physician scientist through a joint MD-PhD in public health. My principle motivation for studying public health and wanting to practice medicine is the sincere belief that health is an essential element in empowering people; physical and mental wellness is among the most powerful and vital tools for individuals to improve their lives. In addition to opening the doors to transformative experiences, the constant support and mentorship from Dr. Lotfipour and Dr. Chakravarthy has been integral to my successes at UCI and has instilled in me a spirit of constant inquiry and a passion for serving others that I know will continue with me for the rest of my life.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

My advice for other students is always to recognize that research is an opportunity, nothing more and nothing less. The quality of your experience and depth of your learning depend mostly on the passion, dedication, and professionalism that you bring into the research lab or clinical setting each and every day. EMRAP has been among my most demanding commitments in terms of time and energy but, as a result, it has been among the most significant and impactful experiences I have had in my time at UCI.

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '11 Armaan Ahmed Rowther
Nov. '11 Heyzel Chevez
Oct. '11 Linett Chevez
Sep. '11 Sylvia Smith
Aug. '11 Jacob Thomas Redmond
Jul. '11 Vilma Garcia
Jun. '11 Felicia Keith
May. '11 Steven Stimach
Apr. '11 Michael Q. Nguyen
Mar. '11 Mohammad H. Zarghami
Feb. '11 Chesca Barrios
Jan. '11 David Curry