Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics (COMSEP) Grant Program

Chair- Janet E Fischel, PhD
Department of Pediatrics
Stony Brook University & Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital

The purpose of this initiative is to promote and support innovative educational scholarship that is designed, implemented, and evaluated by COMSEP members. Selected educational grant(s) will be supported for a total of $5,000 ($2,500 from COMSEP and $2,500 match from the institutional Department). This grant opportunity is supported, in part, by the Richard Sarkin Foundation and celebrates the late Dr. Sarkin's commitment to creative and innovative teaching and learning in Pediatrics.

Application and Submission Process

  • Projects may include educational scholarship related to curriculum development (e.g., design, implementation or scholarly evaluation of the impact of innovative curricula), development and validation of assessment or evaluation tools, development and evaluation of instructional materials, or other research focused on enhancing undergraduate pediatric education.
  • All proposals must have IRB approval (if human subjects are involved) in order for grant money to be awarded. Realizing this takes time in some institutions, investigators must demonstrate evidence that their protocols have been submitted to their IRB at the time of submission to COMSEP.
  • The project must identify a single PI only, and the PI must be a COMSEP member.
  • The PI must identify a mentor for the project whose role is to support the proposal and to assist and consult "on site." The mentor may be faculty from Pediatrics or another department or office of education and need not be a member of COMSEP. COMSEP Grant Committee members are not eligible to be mentors "on site." Mentorship is an important piece of this program and will be closely reviewed by the COMSEP Grant Committee.
  • Previous grantees are welcome to apply with a new project or clearly delineated "next steps" in a previously completed project.

Proposal Priorities

  • Awardees must plan to have at least preliminary data to present by the 2016 COMSEP meeting. The scope of work for the project should be reasonable and practical, such that it is feasible to complete in about 18 months, with a final few months for writing and dissemination activities. The total funding period of the grant is 24 months. A pilot project to generate data for a larger grant submission in the effort to scale up the study in the future is strongly encouraged.
  • Work that has been previously published will not be accepted, but proposals to conduct next steps or next iteration or expansion/continuation of such work will be considered for review.
  • Collaborative efforts between departments or schools are encouraged but awards will be made only to the department of the principal investigator or first author. Matching funds will be required from that same department. The co- investigators may choose to negotiate additional funds from their departments.
  • COMSEP grant budgets must include only direct costs. COMSEP grants do not allow indirect costs.

Review Process

  • Awards will be based on content related to pediatric undergraduate medical education activities. Studies with appropriate rationale for addressing issues that span both undergraduate medical education and graduate medical education will be considered as well.
  • All submissions will be reviewed by at least two members of the COMSEP Grant Committee. We are committed to providing an instructive critique for each proposal, including those that are not accepted. This will allow investigators to pursue their ideas by paying attention to reviewer comments and potentially re-writing their proposals for other funding opportunities. Proposals will be judged "Approved for Funding," "Not Approved for Funding," and "Not initially approved for funding but resubmission is suggested." The Committee reserves the right to ask for changes in the grant before funding is approved.
  • The Committee will give highest priority to those projects that adhere to all proposal priorities and guidelines, are appropriate in scope, have an appropriate budget, have the potential for generalizability, have strong mentorship outlined and have the potential for future grant submissions.
  • The number of proposals funded will be dependent on the number and quality of submissions.

Review Guidelines for Grants

The Grant Review Committee will evaluate COMSEP 2013 grant proposal submissions using the following guidelines:

  • Required Information - To be responsive to the Call for Proposals, the applicant must attend to all required material and guidelines, submitting all information detailed in the Call, and by the deadline for the Call for Proposals, Tuesday, December 4, 2013, 5:00 pm EST. Along with the proposal narrative, note that the required supporting information is essential ( the biosketches of applicant and mentor, the mentor's statement of commitment, the Chair's letter stating that the Department's part of the funding,$2,500., will be provided to the project, and the institutional grants officer name/contact information) . The Grant Review Committee will score and discuss the application, paying careful attention to the above, and to the following:
  • Introduction - Is there a rationale provided for the topic's importance, a literature review that helps define the need for the project, a clear statement of hypothesis (if a research study) or a clear description of project scope and purpose (if an educational innovation project)?
  • Methods/Materials - Is the methodology appropriate to the question(s) or project plan? Is the design clear and appropriately detailed? Is the study population well-defined and sampling method appropriate? Are the types of instruments or techniques planned for measurement detailed, with rationale for the instruments selected? If instruments or materials are to be developed, is this feasible for the scope and timetable of the project?
  • Evaluation/Analysis - Is the evaluation proposed appropriate for the study design and comprehensive for examining outcomes? Is a rationale provided for the evaluation(s) or statistical methods selected?
  • Anticipated Outcomes and Results - Are anticipated and alternative outcomes provided, and are they informative to pediatric medical education?
  • Plans for Dissemination - Does the applicant describe next steps (for example, scale up or further funding potential), generalized use of the project product or findings, or potential integration into other learning settings?
  • Budget and Timeline - Is the budget adequately detailed and with justification for funds (amounts and allocation)? Is the timeline realistic/practical? Does the budget include on direct costs, as indirect costs are not allowed.
  • Proposal narratives (the introduction, methods, evaluation, outcomes, plan for dissemination) will be limited to 2 single-spaced pages or 1,000 words not including the following: a) the list of works cited (reference list), b) the budget (1 page with justification), c) the time line, d) the biosketches (one page each for PI and mentor), e) brief letter from the Chair indicating that the Department's part of the funding ($2,500.) will be provided to the project, f) any other relevant letter(s) of support (optional), g) the institutional grants officer name/contact information, and h) evidence of IRB submission or approval. Tables or figures important to the proposal should be included in the 2 single-spaced pages (or 1,000 words) of the proposal. Do not use appendices. Proposals should be in a font not smaller than 12 pt, with margins not narrower than 1 inch at top, bottom, and each side.

Acquiring Funds, Progress and Final Reports

  • It is the principal investigator's responsibility to see that the grants office or officer designated in the proposal requests the COMSEP portion of the project funds no later than 90 days after the date on the letter confirming successful application/funding. The start date of the grant is considered as the date on the letter confirming successful application/funding. Funds not retrieved within 90 days of the award letter are no longer available for the project.
  • The principal investigator of each funded proposal will submit a progress report at 12 and 24 months following the awarding of funds (for review by the COMSEP Grant Committee). This report must include 1) progress to date, 2) barriers, 3) at 12 months, confirmation of current IRB approval if human subjects are involved in the project, 4) budget expenditures, and 5) project activity anticipated in the next 12 months and/or dissemination plans.
  • Funds remaining after 24 months must be returned to COMSEP if a request for no-cost extension is not made by the principal investigator and approved by the COMSEP Grant Committee six (6) weeks before the 2-year period of the grant terminates.
  • All presentations of scholarly work must acknowledge COMSEP as a sponsor of the work.

This is an exciting opportunity for COMSEP members to advance their educational scholarship with innovative research, to expand the scholarly activities of COMSEP members, departments and the COMSEP organization as a whole. Please email Dr. Janet Fischel, Chair of the COMSEP Grant Committee, with any questions (

View COMSEP Grant Awardees


Eve Colson, MD Richard Sarkin Foundation/COMSEP Awardee
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Yale School of Medicine
Project title: Medical, Nursing, and Physician Assistant Student Perspectives about Interprofessional Education (IPE)

Amy Guiot, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Division of Hospital Medicine
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Project title: Closing the Gap in Handoff Communications: Evaluating the Effects of an IPASS Medical Student Handoff Bundle


Dr. Jennifer Trainor
Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
Project Title: Pediatric Skills Boot Camp for M4 Students
Dr. Bill McGagahie initially served as mentor-has departed the institution, shifted to Dr. Mark Adler
Chair: Dr. Thomas Green
Dr. Trainor serves as the second COMSEP/Richard Sarkin Foundation Awardee
Funded 2012

Dr. Jimmy Beck
Children's National Medical Center
George Washington University
Project Title: Professional Identity Formation Among Medical Students Who Volunteer at a Medical Specialty Camp
Mentor: Dr. Terry Kind
Chair: Dr. Mark Batshaw
Funded 2012

Dr. Irene Hong-McAtee,
Dept of Pediatrics, U Kentucky
Project Title: Evaluating Attitudinal Change in a Basic Science Curriculum in the Peditric 4th Year Acting Internship.
Mentor: Dr. Charles Griffith, Office of the Dean, U Kentucky
Chair: Dr. J. Timothy Bricker
Funded 2011

Dr. Lisa Leggio, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Health Sciences University,
Title: Handover CEX: A validation Study.
Mentor: Dr. Deborah Richardson, Education Discovery Institute, Georgia Health Sciences University
Chair: Dr. Bernard Maria
Dr. Leggio serves as the first COMSEP/Sarkin Foundation awardee.
Funded 2011

Jocelyn Huang Schiller, M.D.
University of Michigan, Department of Pediatrics
Project Title: Parental Assessment of Medical Students' E-Mails
Mentor: Patricia B. Mullan, Ph.D.
Chair: Valerie Castle, M.D.
Funded 2010

Dr. Lavjay Butani
University of California at Davis , Department of Pediatrics
Project Title: Clerkship Students' Assessment of Resident Performance
Chair: Anthony F. Philipps, MD
Mentors: Su-Ting Li, MD, MPH, and Debora A. Paterniti, PhD
Funded 2009

Dr. Erin K. Balog
Department of Pediatrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Bethesda, MD
Mentor: Janice L. Hanson, Ph.D., Ed.S.
Chair: Ildy Katona, MD
Project Title: Designing and Evaluating a Pediatric Clerkship Health Supervision Curriculum
Funded 2009

Dr. Linda Lewin
University of Maryland School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
Project Title: Improving Student Oral Presentation Skills Using Guided Self-Assessment
Mentor: Dr Carol Carraccio
Chair: Steven J. Czinn, MD
Funded 2008

Dr. John Kunzer
Indiana University School of Medicine , Department of Pediatrics
Project Title: The Relationship between Medical Student Burnout and Perceptions of Professionalism
Funded 2008
Mentor: Dr. Mitch Harris
Chair: Richard L. Schreiner, MD, Chair

Dr. Robin Deterding chaired the COMSEP Research Grants Committee prior to my chairmanship. She shifted the chairship to me at the COMSEP meeting in Atlanta Georgia (Research Grants Committee Meeting, April 2, 2008). At that meeting, three (3) grant submissions were considered. We approved and funded two projects: Dr. Lewin's and Dr. Kunzer's. I believe there might have been one set of grant submissions (2007?) prior to the 2008 meeting.