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Getting Started with the EMERGE Lab:
A step-by-step guide to embarking on the types of research and community and engagement conducted by the EMERGE Lab

​Lab Meetings

Lab Meetings

Research involving Human Subjects within the LADHS & USC System

  1. CITI Exchange (link)
    - The CITI account is needed in order to go through appropriate research training and proof of completion is needed before beginning research.
    Register for a CITI account with the University of Southern California as your affiliation.
    - Collaborators from other institutions should NOT use the SSO login/registration option when creating an account.

    Complete these modules: Human Subjects and Social-Behavioral Research, Good Clinical Practice, and HIPAA.
    Send the Research Manager your certificates of completion. Please note that the Human Subjects certificate expires every 3 years.

  2. IRB Submission Tracking And Review, iStar (Learn about iStar, link):
    -The iStar account is used to electronically submit applications to the IRB.
    -Use this link to request an iStar account. You will need your 10 digit USC ID number if you are from USC
    -Otherwise, click on "Not from USC or CHLA and need to register for a new account."
    If your CITI and iStar accounts do not link automatically, your certificates of completion for the trainings may not show up in iStar. If this is the case, email with PDFs of each CITI and HIPAA training certificate, and iStar support will link the accounts for you.

  3. REDCap (link)
    - One of the paramount principles of research is the integrity of your data. Back in the day, novice researchers would use excel spreadsheets to log data. These spreadsheets were easily corrupted via typo’s after long nights of data analysis or the over-writing by an even more novice research assistant. Redcap is a university-based data management system that allows for easy, secure data entry, data protection, and data export to various statistical programs that are commonly used by researchers, i.e. Excel, SPSS, STATA. 
    - Log in using your USC Net ID and password. Your first log in will activate your account.
    - If you have trouble logging in, email, with your full name and USC username.

  4. IRB Contact: Dr. Susan Rose, Executive Director (

Research Training

Research Tools:​ Reference Management, Social Media, Presentations

  • Reference managers

    • Mendeley (link): Download the desktop version, the word processor plugin, as well as their internet browser plugin. This way, when you find an article online, you can click on the web plug-in and it will automatically export the reference to your database. You will be able to insert the citation automatically. Mendeley will automatically become a repository for PDF files of your articles that you can review later. 

    • Endnote (link): Unfortunately USC does not offer the desktop version of Endnote, however USC students, trainees, and faculty have access to the web-based online version.

  • MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) : the standardized vocabulary used for indexing MEDLINE®/PubMED® articles


Electronic Medical Records Access (LA County Health System)

  1. This step is only necessary for those doing research requiring access to the hospital EMR.

  2. To obtain access to the EMR, researchers first need to undergo a background check and registration through LA County in order to receive an employee (E) or contractor (C) identification number. Complete an application at: Selecting "OB/GYN" as your department sends us a message to verify your application for approval. 

  3. LA County+USC Orchid Access: medical students are required to attend a VIEW ONLY ORCHID training course. The training is good for 2 years. Once training is completed, students are granted access to ORCHID. For any login-related issues, please contact the Office of Student Affairs (Contact Monique Abeyta:


Informatics for Integrating Biology & the Bedside (i2b2) is a web-based platform used for searching the EMR for patients, diagnoses, lab values, and/or procedures for the purposes of research planning, review, and quality improvement. i2b2 allows researchers to get “counts” of potential study participants who meet specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. 

Access to the LAC+USC Medical Center instance of i2b2 can be obtained as follows:

  1. Request an account by e-mailing (LAC+USC Medical Center) (Keck Medicine & CHLA) and providing your employee number and affiliation.

  2. If unable to create an account via this means, e-mail Clinical Research Informatics:

  3. You will receive an e-mail with your username and temporary password. 

  4. Log onto the following site to begin your query:

  5. Instructions on how to perform a query: i2b2 Basic Instructions for Users

  6. Video tutorials:


For queries of the Keck Medicine or Children's Hospital EMR's, use the following instances of i2b2:

For queries of regional LA health systems, including UCLA, Cedars-Sinai, and City of Hope, use the Los Angeles Data Resource (LADR) tool for aggregate patient counts, obtained in a way that preserves patient privacy:​. ​

Useful Articles on "How-To" Conduct Research

  • Understanding observational study design in family planning, as well as how to appraise the literature: link to article.

  • Guidance on the conduct of research within the Los Angeles Department of Health Services system: framework.

  • Power for tests of interaction:

  •  Reporting on Case-Control Studies:

  • provides a library of resources and services that support open scholarship, through creation, cataloguing, communication and collaboration of research products.  

  • Funding Opportunities: the Office of Research offers many services to search for external funding, available at: These include: Grant Forward, to search for solicitations by topic and sponsor; Dimensions, to obtain data by department, institution or individual on publications, patents and funded research; Wizehive application portal, required for any institutionally limited funding opportunity, as well as for funding programs within USC.   

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