Project LEAD

Medical Student Program


The Leadership Education And Development of Underrepresented in Medicine Medical Students Project (Project LEAD) is an initiative of the RRF and the ACR that seeks to engage and educate medical students from underrepresented backgrounds through a series of 90-minute virtual roundtable sessions focused on rheumatology, work life balance, and preparing for a fellowship. These sessions are led by an ACR member rheumatologist from a traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.

Details About Project LEAD

RRF in collaboration with the ACR, is pleased to announce a new opportunity for 10 underrepresented in medicine (URiM) medical students who have an expressed interest in rheumatology, primary care, and internal medicine to participate in the Project LEAD cohort. Selected Project LEAD students are required to attend 3–4 virtual roundtable discussions.

Student applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Must be enrolled as a second, third, or fourth-year student in an MD, DO, or MD-PhD medical school program at an accredited institution.
  • Must self-identify as underrepresented in medicine (URiM).
  • Must have proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English.

Networking opportunities with medical students from across the country and rheumatology leaders

Gain in-depth understanding of rheumatology, including the research, treatments, and innovations and opportunities for practice 

Connect with leading rheumatologists, researchers, and fellow students, fostering valuable professional relationships

Access to experienced rheumatologists from diverse backgrounds, offering guidance and support for career development.

Explore potential career paths within rheumatology and receive advice on navigating medical specialties as a URiM student.

Increase visibility within the medical community, potentially opening doors to preceptorships, fellowships, and other opportunities 

Gain access to Student Incentives such as gift cards (up to $75 per student) during participation.

Access to educational and travel scholarships including opportunities to attend ACR educational meetings, convergence in event.

Scholarship opportunity to attend ACR educational meetings and events such ACR Convergence in Washington D.C. or Chicago, IL

Student and Resident ACR Convergence Scholarship

Medical and Graduate Student Preceptorship

ACR Convergence, the ACR's annual meeting

Selection Criteria
Preference will be given to students enrolled at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as identified by the U.S. Department of Education.

Preference will also be given to students enrolled at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) as identified by the U.S. Department of Education.

Review Process
The Project LEAD Scholarship Review Process is designed to ensure a fair, thorough, and efficient evaluation of medical student applications. All applications are reviewed by members of the ACR Collaborative Initiatives Committee, which oversees this project.

December 2024/January 2025

  • Identification and engagement of MSI/HBCU Medical and School of Health Professions
  • Promotion to current HBCU students on scholarships for ACR Convergence 2024

February 2025

  • Selection of students for cohort participation

March–May 2025

  • 2025 Cohort Orientation
  • Medical student(s) will participate in a 3–4 (60–90 minute) virtual rheumatology themed roundtable discussion(s) and submit evaluation materials following each session for incentive (up to $75)

May–August 2025
ACR will engage and encourage selected Project Lead medical student(s) to apply and/or participate in the following scholarship opportunities:

Please check back in December 2024 for the application link.

What is the target audience for this project?

  • The target audience includes medical students attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) with an emphasis on2nd, 3rd and 4th year medical students who have an express interest in rheumatology, primary care, and internal medicine.
  • Preference to students included in Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) categories

How many students will be selected?

  • At least ten (10) students will be accepted into each cohort

Who can provide a letter of support?

  • A faculty member at your institution

How can I find out more information about rheumatology as a profession?

Can medical students become ACR members for free?

What scholarships are available?

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