Award Winning Activity Finder Tool Helps Students Find Clinical Experience, Research Opportunities

The Activity Finder tool helps students find extracurricular activities, including clinical jobs, research positions, volunteer opportunities, and virtual shadowing experiences.

“These activities are essential to a successful application to health professional school,” said Laura Turner, HPSA Executive Director. “An aspiring doctor needs to show that not only are they academically prepared for graduate studies through grades and test scores, but must also understand the healthcare environment they are entering. That means they need exposure to healthcare settings through clinical experiences and shadowing. Students further need to show that they have a service orientation by participating in community service or volunteering.”

“Additionally, increasing numbers of matriculants are participating in research to illustrate that they understand the concepts of scientific inquiry.”

Concept Development

The HPSA Student Advisory Council (SAC) developed the idea of creating a tool to help students find these activities in the late spring of 2021. The SAC conducts an annual brainstorming session to identify potential new tools for students. They identified that students sometimes struggle to find the activities they need for their health professional school applications.

The HPSA development team decided to develop this tool using the product development methodology laid out by The Opportunity Project. Using this agile development method would allow the application to be developed quickly and enable the SAC to provide feedback on the tool development process. Using the methodology also meant that HPSA could enter the project in The Opportunity Project Grand Challenge. This challenge, sponsored by a consortium of government agencies, offered monetary and in-kind prizes to teams that created high-impact digital tools that solved problems for the public.

Over the summer and early fall of 2021, the HPSA development team completed iterative cycles to build the tool. Activity Finder was submitted as an entrant in The Opportunity Project Grand Challenge in October 2021. On December 14, 2022, during a virtual conference on collaborative tool development, The Opportunity Project announced that Activity Finder was one of the winners in the Health and COVID-19 category.

Activity Finder Launch and Future

HPSA publicly launched Activity Finder in early 2022. It has been used thousands of times by students to assist them in finding extracurricular activities.

Following its launch, the HPSA team has completed development sprints to add additional features, such as significantly expanded information on research opportunities. Future development sprints will add more features for students pursuing non-physician career paths, such as dentistry and veterinary medicine.

“HPSA will continue to enhance Activity Finder to help students as they seek to become healthcare professionals,” said Ms. Turner.

Partner with HPSA on Future Tool Development

HPSA relies on the support of donors to create tools such as Activity Finder, which help students from all backgrounds become successful healthcare professionals. Partner with us to develop new and better tools to support underserved students as they work to achieve their dreams.