Our Model

DDRF awards 1-4 full- and part-time fellowships each year to exceptional medical students from top medical schools. The fellowships provide funding for students to take a year-off of medical school in order to conduct clinical, practice-based research under the tutelage of an established physician-scientist in the field of gastroenterology. We engage private donors in support of our mission and collaborate with academic deans from leading university medical centers to recruit the best and brightest students. DDRF fellows describe the program as a highlight of their young careers.


Our Track Record

  • Graduated 13 full-time and 6 part-time students since 2003
  • 4 former fellows specializing in Gastroenterology
  • $1.7 million dollars raised over the last 10 years
  • More than 20 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals
  • 3 top universities engaged in our mission

Goals for 2013

  • Continue efforts to expand our grant awards to talented medical students nationwide
  • Support clinical research projects for presentation at medical conferences and publication in top medical journals
  • Increase awareness of DDRF nationally and continue to grow our base of supporters


Why focus on digestive diseases?

Digestive diseases impact the lives of 60-70 million Americans. Many digestive diseases are disabling, incurable and/or fatal. The economic impact of digestive diseases is estimated to be $107 billion annually in the United States alone. DDRF is dedicated to supporting the research of top physician-scientists and medical students whose contributions are enhancing the field of gastroenterology. To learn more about our research, click here.

Why a scholarly year for medical students?

A full year of dedicated research time under the one-to-one supervision of a talented mentor is transformative in students’ career choices. The annual stipend for a DDRF fellowship, a small investment strategically and opportunely made, can make an out-sized impact.

Is there a need for funding for a scholarly year during medical school?

The demand for a scholarly year among medical students is rising, and the supply of funding is small. Only approximately 5% of students who apply for a scholarly year nationwide achieve funding.

Why teach the exceptional student to be physicians and scientists, rather than one or the other?

Historically, physician-scientists have produced many of the major advances in combating disease. They unite the urgency of the ill patient with the power of the scientific method. Due to changes in the healthcare landscape they are an “endangered species.”

Why do established leaders in gastroenterology mentor students for a scholarly year?

  • To experience professional rejuvenation through interaction with a young, excited, and curious individual
  • To increase research productivity and creativity
  • To experience the satisfaction of shaping an exceptional student’s professional life