A good place to find out about available opportunities is from your Dean's office or from the Associate Dean for Research. Most medical schools offer a wealth of opportunities. How do you choose? A good place to begin is by determining what area interests and excites you the most: Neuroscience? Reproductive biology? Robotic surgery? Space medicine? AIDS research? It's all out there.
Of great importance is a knowledge of the principal investigator. How closely will you be working with her or him? Does the PI look good as a potential mentor? Are there ethical or safety aspects of the work being done that concern you? What's the stipend? It's also helpful to speak to other students who worked in the lab and glean their impressions.
You may want to look beyond your own institution. Your summer research position may also afford an opportunity to see another part of the country or another part of the world. Nor are they limited to academic institutions. Many large pharmaceutical companies and technology and instrument companies take on summer interns.
But the most desirable positions are usually the most competitive. A personalized e-mail briefly stating your qualifications and demonstrating your enthusiasm for the position is helpful. A face-to-face meeting with the PI is an important part in making the decision.
Act now and proceed in a thoughtful and determined manner. Many a distinguished medical research career has been launched by a summer research position!