Research is an important part of the residency experience; it is one of our residency program’s aims at the University of Connecticut. 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 during their residency. They also need to meet specified research training requirements, including completion of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science certificate program. The ultimate goals are for the residents to present at least one abstract at national/international meetings and publish a first-author 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 cover in-state tuition costs for this certificate program.
The joint seminar will meet monthly throughout the academic year. Each resident must present one ‘works-in-progress’ or other presentation each academic year. This seminar provides a forum where residents can hone their presentation skills, develop their research ideas with feedback from faculty, mentors, and peers, and practice formal presentations before 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 of 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.
Due to residents' busy schedules 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 an inquiry into a previously unexplored scientific issue. To ensure adequate time to complete the project during the residency program, residents working with the residency research director 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 when 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.