Building the Future: ASN Expands TREKS to Chicago

By David L. White

Some students prefer Chicago-style hot dogs to Maine lobster rolls. Building on the success of the Mt. Desert Island program, ASN is expanding the TREKS program (Tutored Research and Education for Kidney Students) to Chicago.

TREKS will leverage the University of Chicago’s uniquely designed renal physiology program so medical and graduate students can study renal physiology with experts, network with peers and subsequently benefit from a mentor relationship with a kidney expert at their home institution

Benjamin S. Ko, MD is developing and directing the new program. “I feel very honored.  The Mt. Desert Island Biologic Laboratories (MDIBL) do exceptional work; they’re the birthplace of transport physiology. We want to offer a second TREKS venue that allows more students to participate, and we intend to make our Chicago venue as unique and exciting as possible.”

“I want students to approach the experiments we will conduct as if they were being conducted for the first time. I want them to appreciate all that Chicago has to offer – baseball games, yes – but Chicago also has some of the most severely health care-challenged population groups, and we will be interacting with them through clinical outreach.  I want a strong focus on science, but I also want a robust clinical experience at TREKS Chicago where students will participate in kidney biopsies, ultrasounds and placing catheters for dialysis.”

Peter Boucas, a second year medical student at Midwestern University and TREKS 2016 participant, describes TREKS as an “excellent opportunity to work with top clinicians and researchers in nephrology. But what is truly unique, is upon your return to school you are assigned a nephrology mentor in your area to help you until you complete medical school. I just got back this summer and have already shadowed my mentor in clinic twice.”

ASN provides tuition, a travel stipend and room and board to successful applicants.  To amplify the TREKS experience, participants will be assigned a mentor for the rest of their medical school, and receive travel support to attend an ASN Kidney Week annual meeting as a part of the ASN program for students and residents.

Dr. Laura Maursetter, Nephrology Fellowship Director, University of Wisconsin – Madison, leads the TREKS program at ASN under the Workforce Committee.  Dr. Maursetter believes “Opportunities like TREKS are unique – it is not something that I have found in other fields.  Medical students and research students early in their training do not often get the chance to see subspecialists but this experience could influence their career choice.”

“We have had nearly a 100% positive feedback on the current program and wanted to expand the opportunity to engage more students and institutions.  This is great for the students and nephrology – and the mentors love it.”

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Some students prefer Chicago-style hot dogs to Maine lobster rolls. Building on the success of the Mt. Desert Island program, ASN is expanding the TREKS program (Tutored Research and Education for Kidney Students) to Chicago.

TREKS will leverage the University of Chicago’s uniquely designed renal physiology program so medical and graduate students can study renal physiology with experts, network with peers and subsequently benefit from a mentor relationship with a kidney expert at their home institution

Benjamin S. Ko, MD is developing and directing the new program. “I feel very honored.  The Mt. Desert Island Biologic Laboratories (MDIBL) do exceptional work; they’re the birthplace of transport physiology. We want to offer a second TREKS venue that allows more students to participate, and we intend to make our Chicago venue as unique and exciting as possible.”

“I want students to approach the experiments we will conduct as if they were being conducted for the first time. I want them to appreciate all that Chicago has to offer – baseball games, yes – but Chicago also has some of the most severely health care-challenged population groups, and we will be interacting with them through clinical outreach.  I want a strong focus on science, but I also want a robust clinical experience at TREKS Chicago where students will participate in kidney biopsies, ultrasounds and placing catheters for dialysis.”

Peter Boucas, a second year medical student at Midwestern University and TREKS 2016 participant, describes TREKS as an “excellent opportunity to work with top clinicians and researchers in nephrology. But what is truly unique, is upon your return to school you are assigned a nephrology mentor in your area to help you until you complete medical school. I just got back this summer and have already shadowed my mentor in clinic twice.”

ASN provides tuition, a travel stipend and room and board to successful applicants.  To amplify the TREKS experience, participants will be assigned a mentor for the rest of their medical school, and receive travel support to attend an ASN Kidney Week annual meeting as a part of the ASN program for students and residents.

Dr. Laura Maursetter, Nephrology Fellowship Director, University of Wisconsin – Madison, leads the TREKS program at ASN under the Workforce Committee.  Dr. Maursetter believes “Opportunities like TREKS are unique – it is not something that I have found in other fields.  Medical students and research students early in their training do not often get the chance to see subspecialists but this experience could influence their career choice.”

“We have had nearly a 100% positive feedback on the current program and wanted to expand the opportunity to engage more students and institutions.  This is great for the students and nephrology – and the mentors love it.”