Research Pathway and Scholarly Activity
At UC Davis, all residents are encouraged to pursue research opportunities. Scholarship is a core mission of internal medicine and residents who become involved in research projects reap many potential benefits including: exploring an academic career, developing credentials to bolster their fellowship application, becoming better critical readers of the medical literature, and nurturing intellectual curiosity.
Since 2005, we have delivered a structured Intern Research Curriculum that has substantially enhanced the scholarly successes of our trainees as evidenced by resident publications, and regional and national presentations. In our experience , successful resident projects are conducted over a one-to two-year period, rather than during an isolated 4-week elective experience. All resident research activities are coordinated by Dr. Tonya Fancher, our Research Director. We now require residents who plan to do research to take this curriculum, which we now call the Research Track.
Interns interested in research can join the research track in the second half of their internship year. Once they join, the intern ambulatory time is augmented with structured research training. Interns work with Dr. Fancher, faculty mentors and the Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC), to design a feasible, interesting, novel, ethical and relevant research question and research project.
Interns who complete this training can elect an additional research month in the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years, which is usually when they complete their research project. Because they have done all of the ground work in internship, they can really “hit the ground running” during their research elective and get stuff done. This early jump is really helpful for residents planning on applying to fellowships, as their scholarly work can be highlighted on their applications that go in early in their third year.
Interns who choose the Research Track will:
- learn the basics of research methodology and study design;
- meet individually with medical librarians to enhance their skills in using library resources;
- study research ethics and human subjects protection;
- collaborate with biostatisticians and information technology experts;
- explore electronic health record-based research using Cohort Discovery;
- learn to use reference management software;
- review systematic review methodology;
- develop a research project; and
- submit an IRB for their research program
All interns and residents in the Research Track work closely with faculty research mentors within and beyond the Department of Internal Medicine.
Residency program graduates who stay at UC Davis may apply to the Mentored Clinical Research Training Program (MCRTP), which offers training in basic science or patient oriented research, or the Quality Safety and Effectiveness Research Training T32 Program (QSERT) offered through the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research. Please see the attached biography of a recent graduate who completed the T-32 program concurrently with his pulmonary/critical care fellowship.
Residents are encouraged, and provided financial support, to present their scholarly work at regional and national scientific meetings. We hope these activities will encourage residents to consider careers in patient-oriented research to address the national shortage of clinical investigators.
Hamann KL, Fancher TL, Saint S, Henderson, MC. Clinical Research During Internal Medicine Residency: A Practical Guide. American Journal of Medicine, March 2006; 119:3, 277-283.
Fancher TL, Wun T, Hotz, C, Henderson MC. Jumpstarting Academic Careers with a Novel Intern Research Rotation: the AIMS Rotation. American Journal of Medicine, Vol 122, No. 11, pp 1061-1066. November 2009. PMID: 19854338 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]