Winter 2017 (Volume 27, Number 4)

The CRA's Summer Studentship Program

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Since it was founded, the CRA has worked to promote and advance the field of rheumatology by organizing networking, training, and educational opportunities for clinicians, students, allied health professionals and researchers alike.

Among our various programs and initiatives that help highlight rheumatology to students and residents is the Summer Studentship Program. This program is an excellent way for medical students to garner experience and interest in our sub-specialty. It also serves to develop physical exam skills in medical students as well as expose them to rheumatology, in the hopes that if they don't choose it, they will make excellent referrals.

Students can apply for both the clinical and research studentships, but can only accept one award if both applications are successful. The studentships take place between May and August and last anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks. To find out more about the CRA’s Summer Studentship Program and how to apply, please visit or contact Claire McGowan at The application form for the next cycle will be available as of mid-January 2018.

Here is what some of our students and mentors have to say about this special program:

The CRA studentship program has been a magnificent entry point into rheumatology. I was able to learn and continue developing skills which will become very valuable in a future career that involves research. I will continue to be involved in the field of rheumatology as a direct result of this program.

– Leonardo Martin Calderon (2017 summer student)

What an amazing experience. The entire team at SickKids was so forthcoming with their teaching. Over these ten weeks, I was able to develop my knowledge, confidence and clinical exam skills in a safe and supportive environment. I gained an appreciation for the complexities of rheumatology. I am now more interested than ever in this career path!

– Neha Puri (2017 summer student)

An exciting program for students and mentors alike.

– Dr. Sasha Bernatsky (mentor)

I found out about the summer studentship through my school and decided to apply in order to experience hands-on a research project in this sub-specialty. It was after my first clinical exposure with a rheumatologist that I became interested in this field. I had the privilege of being mentored by a great clinician-researcher who gave me the opportunity to work autonomously. I was pleased to realize how rheumatology research in the context of epidemiology involves the collaboration between different fields of medicine. On one occasion, I had the chance to shadow my mentor at the lupus clinic. This enabled me to appreciate the clinical aspects of rheumatology and to meet patients who were directly involved in my study. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to present my preliminary results at a seminar in front of other researchers. The feedback lead me to better appreciate the significance of our results and guided me to explore other avenues. I am now assured I wish to pursue a career in rheumatology and research, and appreciate the importance of new findings, which can better improve the quality of care.

– Elvis-raymond Mukwikwi (2017 summer student)

The CRA Summer Studentship Program is fundamental in exposing new medical students to rheumatology.

– Dr. Zahi Touma (mentor)

An aspect I really like about the CRA summer studentship program is the continuity of learning/fun/mentorship that continues beyond the three months of internship.

– Yan Jiao Liu (2017 summer student)

This program provides valuable opportunities to gain insight into this gem of a profession... and helped me find a lifelong mentor.

– Ada Lo (2017 summer student)

It is a great opportunity to mentor a bright, fresh mind, and to rekindle the passion for medicine in ourselves.

– Dr. Volodko Bakowsky (mentor)

The access code to enter this site can be found on page 4 of the most recent issue of The Journal of the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRAJ) or at the top of the most recent CRAJ email blast you received. Healthcare professionals can also obtain the access code by sending an email to

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