As a medical professional you will be a lifelong learner, continuing to read journal articles in your field.
By conducting research, undergraduates develop a better understanding of the scientific method and are better able to read, critique, and evaluate research. As a researcher you can improve your critical thinking skills and contribute to the development of knowledge in your chosen field. Many students discover they enjoy it and want to combine research with their clinical work as physicians. Although medical schools might not list research as a “requirement” for admission, independent research or scholarship is highly valued. There are many forms of research. It can be bench work or clinical research. It does not have to be in the sciences if you are majoring in another field.
There are many opportunities on campus and off to conduct research during the school year and summer, but it will take some initiative. See the Science Center’s website about summer research stipends. Check the CWS website for links to sites offering summer research internships. Check the archives of Ruhlman and Tanner Conference programs to get an idea about what your peers have done. Also, talk with your professors.
If you are interested in academic medicine or dual degree programs that includes a Ph.D., research is a must. In addition to high grades and test scores, you will need to demonstrate significant experience in and commitment to research.