Shikha Jha, MD | Global Clinical Scholars Research Training

Shikha Jha, MD

 

Born and educated in Nepal, Shikha Jha, MD, chose to pursue her life goal of becoming a doctor and completed her medical school training in her home country.

“But after I finished medical school, I wanted to improve my skills further and decided that the U.S. was a great place for residency,” she says.

Two years on, Dr. Jha is now a second-year resident at St. Peter’s University Hospital associated with RWJH/Rutgers University. Her long-term professional goal is to become a cardiologist.

Looking for a Strong Research Foundation

“In Nepal ‘research’ is less familiar and flourished,” she says. “We don’t have a good concept and training in terms of how things work in scientific research.  Because of that, I was looking for a strong foundation to learn those skills and understand the basics and core fundamentals of scientific research.”

After viewing an introductory video, Dr. Jha discovered that the Global Clinical Scholars Research Training (GCSRT) program at Harvard University offered what she was looking for. “That short video showed me that the program is open to people like me—who are passionate about medicine—from all across the world,” Jha recalls. “They wish to train people like us to understand research.”

So, in 2019, just as she was applying for her residency, she simultaneously enrolled in the GCSRT program. While hop-scotching across the U.S. for her residency, doing rotations at several hospitals in Maryland, New Jersey, Cleveland and Michigan, she completed the year-long program graduating in late August 2020.

Workshops Provided Structure Leading to Capstone Project

The three hands-on workshops started with foundations, statistics, how data collection works. They also schooled Jha and her colleagues on medical and research ethics, regulations and essential teamwork skills.  By the middle of the program, she was doing presentations with her team how to use research data and implement research studies.

During the final one-third of the program, students designed their own research protocols and proposals suited to their own interests.

Since she is interested in cardiology, Dr. Jha chose a research proposal in that area for the program’s capstone project—the culmination of the program bringing together all of the concepts shared into a detailed proposal to be shared at one’s medical organization.

“I wanted to learn how often patients who get cardiac pacemakers develop an in-hospital, foreign-body infection,” she says of her proposal delivered to the GCSRT program faculty at Harvard Medical School.

Several Quality Improvement Projects Completed

“There are different aspects of research,” Dr. Jha says. “Some people want to work on enhancing scientific knowledge while others like me want to do research that collaborates medical knowledge with patient safety and health care quality.” That’s her goal—to conduct focused, highly efficient, research to improve patient care and health care quality.

Dr. Jha credits the GCSRT program with providing her with the skills she needs to develop proposals and more importantly, complete research projects. She has completed three quality improvement (QI) projects already.

“Having those skills from Harvard made it very easy for me to do these projects hands-on in a hospital,” she says. “Because of my GCSRT experience—learning how to do a proposal, collect data, decide endpoints—it gave me confidence. This education helped me better understand how research works to ultimately be more effective in medical science, generate ideas for QI projects and be more confident in conducting and presenting them. I know the right steps to propose my ideas, define what I’m looking for, and to achieve it on time.”

Jha also appreciated how quickly she learned these skills. “For those looking for both personal and professional growth in research skills in less than one year of training, join this program without even giving a second thought,” she says.

Focused Research Skills in Her Career Discipline

In the year since she completed the GCSRT program, Dr. Jha continued to work on QI projects during her first year and second year residency. “And right now, I’m working in cardiology and looking for cardiology QI projects that I can apply for the benefits of my patients,” she says.

After completing her residency in 2022, Dr. Jha plans on working as a physician in the U.S. Yet again, she plans on looking to Harvard and hopes to earn her MPH in Global Health.  A few years from now, she aspires to pursue fellowship in cardiology, specialize in interventional cardiology. She says her goal is to “treat hearts to win hearts.”

Dr. Jha’s believes her GCSRT training has provided another layer of authenticity to her research knowledge and communication skills. “In fact, I have been applauded and admired several times for [my] ability to connect, execute ideas and deliver work presentations. A major credit goes to the GCSRT program for giving me a lifetime experience for this outstanding growth in me,” she says. “I feel like I am a “Global Person” now, beyond borders.


Learn more about Global Clinical Scholars Research Training.

 

Written by Alice McCarthy