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26 Robert WoodJohnson
Justin Oh '18; Parth Shukla, MD '17; and Jennifer
Yoon '18.
"Dr. Lacy's presentation was fascinating and rele-
vant to current events," recalls Dr. Patel. "When we
approached him, he was open and welcoming, and
we hoped he would take us on as a mentor."
Dr. Lacy and his colleagues at Rutgers had been
studying first responders' "willingness to work"
(WTW)--that is, to adhere to roles and responsibil-
ities in the face of various forms of hazards, threats,
and disasters.
After extensive discussion with Dr. Lacy, the stu-
dents formed a research team to pursue an innova-
tive project evaluating preclinical medical, nursing,
and pharmacy health care students' willingness to
work during different kinds of infectious disease
outbreaks. A comprehensive review of the literature
revealed that their research would break new
Although all the students on the team had signifi-
cant participation in the research, Dr. Patel and Dr.
Wattamwar took the lead in shepherding the project
to conclusion.
Publication in the Scientific Literature:
A Goal from the Start
ver the next two years, under Dr. Lacy's mentor-
ship, the students' interest evolved from an idea
to an in-depth research project to a published paper.
The team made journal publication their ultimate
goal. They hoped that their findings and conclusions, shared
with the wide audience of readers in the fields of disaster med-
icine and emergency preparedness, could improve future capa-
bilities to respond to infectious disease outbreaks and other
They chose to submit the article to Disaster Medicine and
Public Health Preparedness, published by the U.K.-based
Cambridge Journals.
"We selected this journal for its breadth of readership and
its impact," says Dr. Wattamwar. "It is widely read interna-
tionally by researchers, educators, and practitioners in the
area of preparedness and response."
Last spring, the team learned that the journal had accepted
their article for publication. On June 19, "Health Care
Student Knowledge and Willingness to Work in Infectious
Disease Outbreaks" was published online, with Dr. Patel and
Dr. Wattamwar as lead authors, Dr. Lacy as senior author, and
the five additional researchers as coauthors.
"A unique feature of this research was that, unlike many
projects in which students are given a subsidiary role, the stu-
dent team, with appropriate faculty supervision, developed
the concept, performed the project, analyzed the results, and
wrote and submitted the paper," says Dr. Lacy. "From start to
finish, this was their project."
Designing and Implementing the Research
he study centered on the WTW of preclinical students at
three schools of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences:
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers School of
Nursing, and Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy.
In the face of a disaster, health care students may be called on
for duties and responsibilities when the need for responders
exceeds the supply. Equally important, understanding the deter-
minants of WTW in students during their formative educational
years may significantly affect the future response workforce.
Because the study involved human subjects, Rutgers