Research is an important part of the residency experience; at the University of Connecticut, it is one of our residency program aims. While we provide all residents with the opportunity to engage in scholarly activity, the University of Connecticut Clinical Research Track is designed to prepare outstanding and highly motivated Internal Medicine residents for a career in academic medicine and clinical research by providing them with dedicated opportunities to develop clinical research skills during their residency training. This track is limited to three residents per year. Residents in the Clinical Research Track will complete a mentored clinical research project over the course of their residency. They also need to meet specified research training requirements, including completion of the certificate program offered by the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science. The ultimate goals are for the residents to present one or more abstracts at national/international meetings and publish a manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal.
The Clinical Research Track has three main components: clinical research courses, a longitudinal seminar, and mentored research.
Courses in Clinical Research Methods
In addition to completing the courses required as part of the scholarship in medicine rotation during the intern year, during the PGY2 year residents in the Clinical Research Track will be required to complete the certificate course program offered through the Masters in Clinical and Translational Research program within the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science. For those residents selected for the track, the Internal Medicine Residency Program and the Department of Medicine will contribute up to $9,000 to cover tuition costs for this certificate program.
The joint seminar will meet monthly throughout the academic year. Each resident is expected to present one ‘works-in-progress’ talk during the year. This seminar provides a forum at which residents can hone their presentation skills, develop their research ideas with feedback from faculty, mentors and peers, and practice formal presentations prior to scientific meetings. Faculty will also discuss their own research at these seminars to help residents learn about potential projects and career paths.
Each resident will develop a mentored research project on which they are the first author of a resulting manuscript. Clinical Research Track residents and mentors should ensure that projects conform to the NIH definition for clinical research:
Patient-oriented research, including epidemiologic and behavioral studies, outcomes research, and health services research. Patient-oriented research is research conducted with human subjects (or on material of human origin such as tissues, specimens, and cognitive phenomena) in which a researcher directly interacts with human subjects. It includes research on mechanisms of human disease, therapeutic interventions, clinical trials, and development of new technologies, but does not include in vitro studies using human tissues not linked to a living individual. Studies falling under 45 CFR 46.101(a) (4) are not considered clinical research for purposes of this definition.
Due to the busy schedules of residents and their limited research experience, it is unrealistic to expect residents to develop projects de novo. Resident research projects will be developed as a sub-area of the mentor’s existing program with the residents identifying a sub-area in which they can lead inquiry into a previously unexplored scientific issue. In order to ensure adequate time to complete the project during the residency program, residents, working in conjunction with the director for residency research, will identify a mentor and topic area by January of their intern year. The director for residency research and the mentor will discuss the topic of authorship with each resident at the time a project is initiated; residents should have sufficient leadership of the research project to warrant first-authorship on the resultant manuscript. Mentors should be the senior mentor on the manuscript and should assist in determining whether other authors (and if so, whom) are appropriate.