Research Experience

Research activities are an essential component of the curriculum for all trainees.

For trainees in the investigator track, at least 18 months are allocated to research activities in the last two years. Certain clinical activities, including continuity clinic, continue during these research blocks. However, the emphasis is toward accruing investigative skills directed at career goals.

The trainee in the investigator track is assigned to a preceptor throughout the second and third fellowship years. The preceptor is responsible for designing a research curriculum that will ensure a productive outcome for the trainee. Plans for this research curriculum usually begin in the second half of the first year.

The preceptor, through interaction with the program director, the T-32 training director and other faculty members, will establish research goals and performance criteria. A review committee, including division and extradivisional faculty members is typically arranged to assist in this process.

Research preceptorships

Objectives

  • Develop an interest in research methodology or augment specific areas in the fellow’s field of interest where further clinical or basic research is needed.
  • Develop the ability to critically review published research, design research protocols and answer hypothesis-driven investigative questions.
  • Potentially prepare the fellow for an academic career.

Description

Fellows are required to identify a faculty preceptor early in the fellowship, and a mentorship committee is generated taking the fellow’s research interests into consideration. Fellows are introduced to the areas of interest and research of the faculty members during research conferences, directly through one-on-one interactions, or during clinical rotations in the first and second years of fellowship.

The fellow is encouraged to identify specific areas of interest toward which he/she would like to direct investigative efforts. The research project is assembled with the assistance of the preceptor. The investigator track fellow starts his/her research project when on a research block.

On the average, the investigator track fellow has at least 18 months of research time in the second and third years.

The preceptorship is an ongoing process, with frequent presentations at research conferences. The fellow is encouraged to send abstracts to national and international meetings, and to write articles and review papers on his or her research and areas of interest.

Fellows interested in more than one field can have more than one preceptor, and fellows can collaborate with faculty from other Department of Medicine divisions.

Course-work, if required or desired, can be taken during the research periods.

The clinician track fellow selects one or more clinical research preceptorship modules during the 10-12 months set aside for research during the second and third years of fellowship. Similar to the investigator track fellows, a mentorship committee is formed in the second quarter of the first year of fellowship, taking the trainee’s clinical interests into consideration.

The expectation is that research projects and scholarship plans will be solidified in the second half of the first year for preceptorship modules to begin in the second year of training. Within these research modules, the fellow is expected to initiate research projects, collaborate with preceptors on ongoing research projects, and advance clinical knowledge in the chosen clinical area(s). The fellow is encouraged to send abstracts to national and international meetings, and to write articles and review papers on his or her research and areas of interest.

Evaluation

  • Direct feedback from research preceptor.
  • Peer review of research when submitted to national/international meetings and of manuscripts when submitted for publication.
  • Formal written evaluation following each rotation.
  • Quarterly feedback sessions with the division chief.
  • Fellow evaluation form.

Research conference

Objectives

  • Present research protocol and results at a forum where other faculty members and fellows can critique the project.
  • Develop the ability to analyze and present findings in a clear and concise fashion.
  • Formulate ideas for future research from listening to presentations by established investigators.

Description

Research Conference is held weekly. Both faculty and fellows present their projects, defending the validity of the proposal, soundness of the protocol and methods, and up-to-date results. Questions and criticisms from other faculty and fellows are answered at the end of the presentation. At times, visiting professors and invited speakers give presentations. Research assistants from the various labs in the division also attend.

Evaluation

  • Direct one-on-one feedback from the faculty preceptor.
  • Formal written evaluation following each rotation.
  • Quarterly feedback sessions with the division chief.
  • Fellow evaluation form.

Meetings and scientific presentations

Objectives

  • Develop the ability to present one’s research to peers at a national or international meeting.
  • Develop the ability to answer questions from peers in a clear and concise fashion.
  • Learn about other ongoing research projects in one’s field of interest.
  • Learn to better design projects and develop new ideas for research.

Description

Fellows are encouraged to send abstracts to national and international meetings. The division sponsors one trip to a national meeting annually for each fellow. The faculty preceptors assist the fellow in preparing the research project for oral presentation or poster presentation if submitted research is accepted. The preceptor may accompany the fellow to the meeting and assist him or her in preparing the presentation and in appropriately handling questions from peers.

Evaluation

  • Preceptor review of the presentation.
  • Peer review of the project and presentation at the meetings.
  • Formal written evaluation following each rotation.
  • Quarterly feedback sessions with the division chief.
  • Fellow evaluation form.

Publications

Objectives

  • Develop skills in scientific writing in a format suitable for publication of research work.
  • Be able to accurately describe research work, including the rationale, scientific methods, results, and a cohesive and informative discussion of the findings.
  • Learn to employ statistical methods in the description of research work.

Description

Fellows are required to complete a research project during the fellowship program that is suitable for publication in the scientific literature and to complete that publication with the help of the preceptor. A peer-reviewed scientific publication is desired for all trainees. Trainees are also encouraged to participate in writing book chapters and review articles, and participate in peer review of manuscripts as directed by their preceptors.

Evaluation

  • Peer review of submitted manuscripts.
  • Evaluation of the quality of the individual’s work by the preceptor.
  • Direct feedback by the preceptor during the preparation of the manuscript(s).

Extracurricular methodology training

Objectives

Learn investigative skills not available in the intramural curriculum.

Description

Fellows are encouraged to participate in extramural courses for statistical training, outcomes research methodology, and other aspects of clinical investigation that may be best attained at extramural sites. Specialized training in experimental techniques may also be acquired at extracurricular locations.

Evaluation

  • Quality of training evaluated by preceptor.
  • The extracurricular component may have its own evaluation system.