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AOSC Graduation Requirements, Conference Travel, Poster Printing, and Research Electives

AOSC Graduation Requirements

All MD students - excluding dual degree (MD/MPH, MD/MA, and MSTP) students - are required to fulfill their AOSC graduation requirement as part of their curriculum. This requirement is fulfilled by either (1) an eligible first-author manuscript submitted to a PubMed-indexed journal (requirement fulfilled on submission even if the article is not accepted); or (2) a thesis which substitutes for the first-author paper requirement. Eligible first author papers must have been written based on research performed during medical school, and are not required to derive from a student's declared AOSC project. Eligible first-author paper formats include original research (including brief reports and research letters if original research), systematic reviews, scoping reviews, or humanities analytical/narrative pieces submitted for publication. We encourage students to consider submitting even "null" results from their research, as several journals including open access ones (such as PLOS One and Nature Scientific Reports) primarily review articles based on validity rather than significance of findings. Northwestern also offers funding for such open access journals. As a substitute for a submitted first author paper, students can submit a thesis (see the thesis template).

Conference Attendance

Conference Attendance Request Form (details below)

Conference Expense Report (instructions below) 

Please note:

Eligibility:

  • The conference stipend is available for AOSC, MD/MPH, MD/MA and MD/MS students. MD/PhD and MD/MSTP Students are not eligible for the conference stipend.
  • You may attend either a virtual or in-person conference in the U.S only. Stipends will not be approved for conferences taking place internationally (including Canada). No exceptions. 
  • You are eligible for the conference stipend to present any first author research, whether or not it is your AOSC project.
  • You are eligible to receive the conference stipend for ONE conference within the U.S during your tenure at FSM. No exceptions.

Applying for Conference Funding:

  • To apply for the AOSC Conference Travel Stipend, please complete the conference attendance request form 6-8 weeks ahead of your conference. Your request is typically reviewed within 24 hours of submission. Once approved, you'll be instructed to meet with a staff member at AWOME who will register you for the conference. Do not register prior to receiving approval.
  • Attendance for first-author presentations to a national, regional, or local conference must be authorized in advance by Student Research Director Matt Feinstein, MD or by Student Research Program Manager Liza Rivnay.

Reminders and Clarifications:

  • FSM Student Research will cover up to $500 in registration fees, including the abstract submission cost only for the one conference you'll be attending. Additionally, FSM Student Research will cover $750 in travel costs. The stipend for conference fees and for travel are two separate stipends and the two cannot be combined. The $750 travel stipend cannot be increased.
  • The conference stipend covers abstract submission costs only to the one conference you'll be attending. Other abstract submissions costs are typically covered by the mentor.
  • Registration fees do not include pre-courses, break-out/specialty group sessions, etc., where an additional fee is required. It does not include registering for additional events where, although there is not a charge for the event, there is a required fee for the meal provided. Those expenses will not be reimbursed.
  • FSM Student Research will cover poster printing costs. Those are separate from the registration stipend and travel stipend. Please see "poster printing" below.
  • Publication of your research is highly encouraged, but not a requirement to qualify for the conference stipend.
  • Please do not use gift cards, airline points, etc. for purchases. Those will not be reimbursed. 

When submitting an expense report, please note:

  • All meal receipts must be itemized
  • Maximum allowable for dinner is $40
  • If you split anything with others, every person must have their own itemized receipt. Only receipts with your name on them can be reimbursed to you.
  • We cannot reimburse purchases made on Zelle, Venno, or any other peer to peer app.
  • For Lyfts, Ubers, Taxis, etc. only the people whose name on the receipt will be reimbursed. To be reimbursed for a Lyft/Uber, please include a detailed receipt with your name, Lyft/Uber amount, tax amount, tip amount etc. Specifically for Lyfts, log-on online from a computer or Ipad (not on your phone with the app).  Once you log on, click on the “Rides” tab.  Then click on the appropriate ride showing the charges, and print the page as a pdf. This will give you details of the amounts with your name on it.  Screen shots from your phone or ride reports from the app are not reimbursable. 
  • If you need to rent a car, please email Liza for approval ahead of your conference.

Purpose of Conference Stipend:

The University exists to conduct teaching, research, and public service.Expenditures of University funds for travel must occur in furtherance of this mission, and a business purpose must exist for each instance of expenditure. Reimbursements to individuals will not be made prior to completion of travel and will be based upon Office and University guidelines, including the appropriateness of each expense transaction and sufficient documentation. A summary of guidelines can be found below, but is not meant to be inclusive and is subject to change. Questions regarding support and documentation of specific expenses should be directed in advance of the conference by emailing omereimburse@northwestern.edu).

Process:

To start the process, please complete a Conference Attendance Request form. Once your form is submitted, it will be sent to Liza Rivnay (Student Research Program Manager), who will advise you of the status of your request.

We ask all applying students to submit their conference attendance request form 6-8 weeks ahead of the conference start date. When filling out the request form, please indicate the registration fee due date (early bird, if offered, or standard) in the field labeled “Will this conference be co-supported by another department?”

Once your conference attendance is approved, Liza Rivnay will notify you.
An AWOME staff member will utilize the University procurement card to register you for the conference.  This means you will not incur an out-of-pocket expense (request for reimbursement will not be needed/honored). 

Missing Required Curricular Sessions:
Approval from Matt Feinstein or Liza Rivnay is solely for the purpose of having your registration fee(s) covered and does not grant permission for being absent from class or a rotation. This must be independently obtained by the student.  Students will be excused from a required session(s) for their scheduled date of presentation only. Please provide written notification of your presentation date to Coordinator for Student Support, Allison Matricaria.

Any additional day(s) for attendance will require use of personal day(s). If you will be missing a required session(s), please email that information to Allison Matricaria to request the absence.

Reimbursement Procedure:
Within 14 days of completing travel, the traveler must submit an Expense Report and supporting documentation, including itemized receipts to omereimburse@northwestern.edu. The Office does not use a Per Diem rate for reimbursements (“daily allowable”). Those students previously reimbursed by
the University may need to complete additional paperwork. If other documentation is needed this will be communicated to you.

Original itemized receipts must be submitted for all travel expenses including airline and rail, hotels, meals, automobile rental, and incidentals. The Office and University reserves the right to withhold reimbursement of expenditures lacking receipts and a valid reason for such an omission. Gift card receipts will not be reimbursed. 

Please take care to ensure that all receipts are legible and well organized. We recommend
taking a photo/scanning your receipts as soon as you receive them.

Purchases made using Venmo, Zelle, or any other peer to peer app will not be reimbursed for any expenses. Purchases made using gift cards will not be reimbursed for any expenses. 

Please organize your receipts for reimbursement in the following order:
1) Conference registration fees
2) Airfare/baggage
3) Hotel/motel/airbnb (if there is more than one person in a room, the cost of the room should
be shared equally with the other attendee(s)
4) Ground transportation
5) Itemized meal receipts.

Acceptable conference expenses include:
Conference registration fee and baggage fees
Transportation to and from the conference hotel room/motel/airbnb
Taxi to and from airports Meals
Mileage if driving; tolls and parking fees

Meals:
Alcohol will not be reimbursed.
Travelers should use reasonably priced restaurants and dining rooms. Original itemized
receipts must be submitted with the Expense Report when requesting reimbursement.
Breakfast and Lunch Allowable: For breakfast and lunch meals, the reimbursement policy is
based on documentation of reasonable and actual expenses, supported by original itemized receipts.
Dinner Allowable: For dinner the maximum allowable is $40 and is based on documentation of
reasonable and actual expenses, supported by original itemized receipts.

Travel:
Travelers should use the least expensive airfare, including non-refundable and penalty fares, based on a two-hour "window" on either side of their preferred departure or arrival times. Air carrier selection cannot be biased by the traveler’s frequent flyer affiliation. The lowest cost air travel should take precedence. For Lyfts, Ubers, Taxis, etc. only the people whose name on the receipt will be reimbursed. Receipts cannot be split by AWOME. 

For Lyfts, Ubers, Taxis, etc. only the people whose name on the receipt will be reimbursed. To be reimbursed for a Lyft/Uber, you will need to include a detailed receipt with your name, lyft amount, tax amount, tip amount etc. Specifically for Lyfts, log-on online from a computer or Ipad (not on your phone with the app).  Once you log on, click on the “Rides” tab.  Then click on the appropriate ride showing the charges, and print the page as a pdf. This will give you details of the amounts with your name on it.  Screen shots from your phone or ride reports from the app are not reimbursable.

Hotel:
Travelers must book standard accommodations in reasonably priced, commercial class
hotels, motels, or airbnbs. Travelers should ask for educational discounts where available. Travelers will be reimbursed for the reasonable and actual cost of lodging. If there is more than one occupant to a room, the cost should be split equally between all individuals and charged separately.
The Business Travel News Corporate Travel Index showing average negotiated hotel rates for the top 100 U.S. and international travel cities is available for reference on the NU Travel website. To verify conference site hotel rate, include conference literature with the Expense Report when requesting reimbursement.

Poster Printing:
To print your poster, please place an order with Quartet Digital
Printing. Please email Liza Rivnay to get the chart string. This will be a separate reimbursement and not part of your $750 travel stipend or the $500 registration stipend. We recommend that you print your poster a few weeks before your conference as the queue can be long. 

Complete your expense report here. Instructions below:
Fill in the following Expense Report fields:
1. Name
2. Address (current, local)
3. City, State, Zip
4. Phone
5. Date(s) of Travel
6. Business Purpose: AOSC travel to the _____________________ conference, City, State
7. Explanation of Expense and Amount including Total Expense
8. Complete Visitor Certification Signature Section
Include receipts. Receipts should be taped in date order on 8.5 x 11 paper (single sided) and multiple
receipts can be included on the same page.
To verify conference site hotel/motel/airbnb rate, include conference registration literature.

Attach receipts, conference literature and any notes to the Expense Report and submit the materials to
omereimburse@northwestern.edu.

If necessary, you will be contacted with questions and/or to submit additional paperwork. The reimbursement request will then be reviewed by the Office of Medial Education and Accounts Payable.
Accounts Payable reserves the right to question any expenses or documentation on the University’s behalf. Typically, once received by accounts payable, reimbursements are processed within 10 business days; this assumes all required documentation has been submitted.

Research Elective Guidelines

Students may obtain elective credit for both AOSC and non-AOSC research. Total elective credit for research (AOSC-related and non-AOSC) must not exceed 12 weeks. Students may do up to one month of research in two-week blocks (i.e., a total of two, non-contiguous two-week blocks is allowed). All other research electives must be taken in at least one-month blocks. Flex time can always be used to conduct research (including one week at a time). 

All requests for research electives must be approved by the student’s research mentor and submitted to AWOME for final approval before an elective can be scheduled. A separate form must be filled out for each non-contiguous research block. 

To schedule and receive credit for a research elective, fill out the Research Elective Request form and attest that you have reviewed the contents of the form with your research mentor. You can view a PDF worksheet of the Research Elective Form. The completed form should be submitted for approval at least two weeks prior to starting the research block. You may not request elective credit for research time retroactively. Once your elective request is approved, the registrar will be informed and the research elective will be added to your schedule in OASIS in the block you requested.