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Richard Childers

2023 URH Faculty Mentor Award Recipient


Richard Childers profile image

Please tell us a bit about your educational background and current research.

I am an Emergency Physician at the University of California San Diego. My research focus is on health care service overuse. Prior publications include work on tourniquet use in traumatic amputations, combat trauma policy, inappropriate urine testing and antibiotic use, as well as opioid use disorder treatment. I graduated from Loyola Chicago School of Medicine, completed my EM residency at Naval Medical Center San Diego, and earned a masters in clinical research at UCSD. While in the Navy I deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice.

Did you do research as an undergraduate student? How did you get started in your current field?

For a year as an undergraduate, I studied oncogenes in Nematodes. It involved basic science and lots of benchwork. I did not excel in this work, the lab director was happy to get rid of me, and I put away any desire to pursue research. However, as a resident I started listening to podcasts about both methodology and wasteful healthcare. I loved how some physician methodologists would break down studies to explain the truth of the matter, then place the study in the broader context of the US healthcare system. After an additional 10 years in the Navy, with multiple moves and deployments, I left for UCSD in 2018. Here, I joined the Emergency Department, obtained my MAS in clinical research, and pursue research in health care overuse.

Who are some of your most memorable mentors? How did you meet them?

Gary Vilke is an emergency physician who ran the research division here at UCSD. I reached out to him prior to leaving the Navy. He is smart, down-to-earth, positive, and a blast to work with. We started off collaborating on areas of his expertise, then has mentored me in my own work. I would charge a hill for him!

Why do you enjoy being a mentor?

Pre-meds are always so positive and excited. It's good to be around that.

What is the most useful piece of advice a mentor gave you?

Projects take longer and involve more work than you think when starting; thus, make sure you are really taken by the research question.