PEMRAP students are actively involved in clinical research studies being performed by Washington University faculty in the St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) Pediatric Emergency Department (ED). We participate in a wide variety of clinical research studies with varying scope and scale. Some of these studies are single site studies – patients are only being enrolled in the SLCH ED – and some are multi-site – patients are being enrolled in hospitals across the U.S. Some studies have no grant funding and PEMRAP students comprise the entire research enrollment team. Other studies are supported by multi-million dollar grants with support of a full research staff, and PEMRAP students will be collaborating with these research staff members.

PEMRAP student responsibilities vary depending on the study. Students will help screen patients for active studies, gather important patient information and, when possible, enroll eligible patients into studies. The number and type of studies vary from semester to semester but can lead to interaction with a wide range of patients from infants to young adults with a variety of different conditions.

PEMRAP students may also elect to participate in optional shadowing shifts in the ED. This time is independent of the time spent working to enroll in research studies. These shifts allow students to shadow a physician in the SLCH ED (either a resident, fellow or attending) for a two-hour period in the ED. During this time students will get a first-hand look at how an ED functions, how patients present to the ED, how physicians talk with patients, how they decide what testing to do and how this helps them determine possible causes of an illness.

In addition to assisting with the recruitment of ongoing research studies in the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Emergency Department, PEMRAP Research Assistants are actively involved in developing and implementing new research studies under the direction of course directors George Hoganson, MD and Crystal Gravatte, MD. These studies are 100% PEMRAP initiated and driven with the goal of improving public health, contributing to the medical literature and advancing the care of patients and communities.  

Course details

L41 BIOL 2652: PEMRAP® I

Pediatric Emergency Medicine Research Associates Program: Experiences in Life Sciences

This class provides an unparalleled opportunity to work within a busy pediatric emergency department. Your role as a student and research associate places you on the front lines of clinical research and can give you an inside look into how advances in medicine are made. Step-by-step, patient-by-patient, you will gain experiences and learn skills that have the potential to shape your future career.

Note: PEMRAP/BIOL 2652 is not offered in the summer.


Pediatric Emergency Medicine Research Associates Program: Experiences in Life Sciences II

A continuation of PEMRAP I (BIOL 2652), returning RAs assist in training and mentoring incoming PEMRAP students, work approximately one four-hour shift/week in the ED and participate in the physician shadowing program as offered. Returning RAs are responsible for staying current with new study protocols by attending or viewing new study presentations for PEMRAP students.

There is no outside coursework and no exams.


Students are required to work one to two 4-hour shifts in the SLCH each week, for a total of 64 shift hours per semester. Shifts are set in 4-hour blocks, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m., and are available throughout the semester, including breaks and holidays. The class can access the monthly schedule at the start of the semester. 


When is the month’s scheduler usually posted?

The scheduler is usually posted 1-2 weeks before the next month on Tuesday or Wednesday. The actual date and time will be emailed to you beforehand.

When do I post my dropped shift on Groupme?

If you decide to drop your shift within 48 hours of the scheduled time, please post it on Groupme.

I missed a few of my scheduled shifts because I was sick, and the available times do not fit in my schedule. What should I do?

Email one of your chiefs. We will try to accommodate you, so you can complete your shifts.

When will I receive an email to notify me about my shadowing?

You should receive an email about your shadowing shift 2-3 days before your shadowing shift. If you have not received one within 2-3 days, email Cindy Gemignani at

Where do I find the printer to copy more shift logs?

The printer/copier in the coral reef area, or ask one of the nurses.

What can I wear to my shifts in the ER? What about shadowing shifts?

Scrub top and badge at all times.

If I am early to my shift, can I leave early?

Some metro trains leave on the hour or a little passed, and we are trying to account for this. You may NOT show up for a shift 30 minutes before and leave 30 minutes early. Too many people will be at the desk if we allow this.

If the research coordinator is unavailable, but I have contact information, where should I put it?

You may put the contact information in the locked cabinet above the PEMRAP computer. Let the research coordinator know that you will be doing this by leaving a message on their voicemail or sending them an email so that they can pick up the contact information at a later point.

Will I be able to schedule all of my shifts for the same days/times each week?

It might be possible, but the emergency room is busier some days/times than others, so students are encouraged to schedule varying shifts so they get a broader experience. There are a limited number of shifts available each month and the most popular times go first.

Optional shadowing shifts

Shadowing shifts are available Monday through Friday evenings and Saturday and Sunday days. Students MUST sign up in advance for these shifts. 

Shifts are two hours in length. Upon arrival for a shadowing shift, students should report to the attending physician who will assign the student to shadow a resident, hospitalist, fellow or nurse practitioner.


Each PEMRAP student is responsible for his or her own transportation to and from St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Washington University operates the Gold Line shuttle service from the Danforth/Hilltop Campus to the Medical School Campus. You may travel on the Gold Line free of charge with a student ID and a Metro pass. Metrolink also connects the Danforth/Hilltop Campus to the Medical School Campus. You may travel on the Metrolink with a Metro pass. Metro passes are available free of charge to all undergraduate Washington University students through Parking Services. They also may be ordered online.


Restrictions apply, but parking is available in designated garages for shifts after 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and anytime Saturday and Sunday. Please contact the program coordinator for details.