Nov 22, 2023 / Spotlight

Get to Know our Staff: Carlos Monroig-Rivera, Medical Student Research Fellow

Scottish Rite for Children offers a Medical Student Research Fellowship (MSRF) for medical students interested in gaining experience in clinical research. MSRF fellows work with a lead faculty mentor throughout the year and several project supervisors who are pediatric orthopedic faculty at Scottish Rite. They work as a crucial part of the research teams in various centers for excellence at Scottish Rite and are responsible for a variety of research projects.
What inspired you to apply for the MSRF position?
What inspired me to apply for the MSRF position was my passion for pediatric orthopedic research. Since meeting Dr. Norm Ramirez, a former pediatric orthopaedic fellow at Scottish Rite, I’ve always been interested in how orthopedic research plays a role in advancing orthopedic knowledge and making a difference in children’s lives.
Have you always been interested in medicine and/or research?
Yes, I am a recent medical doctor graduate from Puerto Rico aspiring to improve pediatric patient care while following my dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
What is it like working at Scottish Rite for Children?
Working at Scottish Rite for Children has been incredible. The institution's diverse leadership and commitment to staff and employees make you feel like you belong. Their commitment to the well-being of children is truly inspiring. Scottish Rite for Children’s supportive environment has provided me with invaluable learning opportunities that I will hone to become an ethical and competent orthopedic surgeon.
Can you share a few sentences about someone at Scottish Rite who has been a mentor to you and how they have impacted your experience? What project are you working on with that mentor?
One of my mentors at Scottish Rite has been Jaysson T. Brooks, M.D., a renowned pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Brooks has had a profound impact on my experience by guiding me through my orthopedic residency application and several research projects related to pediatric spine deformity. One of the projects we are working on together is looking at the effect that a T1 Upper Instrumented Vertebrae has on Proximal Junctional Kyphosis Risk in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Patients.
How do you think this experience will impact your career path?
This opportunity helps me explore the academic aspects of orthopedics, dive into pediatric orthopedic research and collaborate with renowned experts in the field. This experience reinforced my commitment to becoming an orthopedic surgeon, providing me with the understanding and discipline to excel at my job.
What progress have you made toward your career goal since beginning the program?
Since beginning the program, I have contributed to several research projects and developed a better understanding of the complexities in pediatric orthopedics. I've also had the privilege of presenting my work at a resident symposium and published research papers in orthopedic journals.
What is your favorite project that you are currently working on or have worked on at Scottish Rite?
My favorite project at Scottish Rite has been investigating compliance rates and patients reported outcomes for each type of brace prescribed to treat spinal deformity. It is a challenging and meaningful project that could impact patient care and quality of life. Having the opportunity to work alongside a supportive and knowledgeable team has made me discover a passion for the pursuit of knowledge and the process of curiosity, making me feel fulfilled at work by enjoying the process and making a difference in the lives of children.

What advice do you have for future MSRF participants?
For future MSRF participants, I would advise them to work hard, be proactive and make the most of the resources available at Scottish Rite for Children. Don't be afraid to ask for help, don’t be discouraged by setbacks or slow progress and stay committed to your goal. Never forget to sharpen the saw. As you step into this journey, continue renewing and improving yourself. Take care of yourself along the way, and take simple steps to sustain your personal growth.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
One thing most people don’t know about me is that I'm a fantasy basketball enthusiast and analyst. I’ve always been interested in the strategic components of the game, and this passion always takes me to study the secret world of statistics and strategies when the NBA season begins. I spend nights looking over player statistics, studying trends and predicting breakout performances. I've even won a few friendly leagues. The best part is that my love for fantasy basketball has improved my real-life understanding of the game. Fantasy basketball has taught me the art of decision-making, risk assessment, player roles and team strategies. So, if you ever see me with my laptop during the NBA season, don't assume I'm just catching up on work. I might be fine-tuning my fantasy basketball lineup.
Anything else you would like to add?
In closing, I'm grateful for the chance to be a part of the MSRF program at Scottish Rite for Children, and I look forward to continuing my journey of becoming an orthopedic surgeon with the knowledge and experiences gained throughout my time here.
We’re recruiting Medical Student Research Fellows for 2023! If you are a third-year medical student looking to take a gap year before applying to residency, take advantage of this unique opportunity! Only three positions are available for 2024.
Learn more and apply here on our Careers page.

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