Although residency is an intense period of heavy clinical responsibilities, every nationally certified program must also provide opportunities for trainees to get a taste for academic medical research. At Iowa, research is not an afterthought to be wedged in or a box to be checked. From their intern year, residents are encouraged to begin thinking about what their research project work might involve. They are supported and mentored in research throughout their training, many often publishing at least once or twice before graduation.
Some choose a project in an area they expect to subspecialize in, a fellowship they hope to pursue. “That is certainly an option,” Brian Gehlbach, MD, Associate Director of Internal Medicine Fellowship Programs, told the residents. “But the project you choose now does not have to be what you think you want to go into. I can tell you that when reviewing fellowship applications and interviewing candidates, listed projects outside the field can produce the most interesting insights into a candidate.”
To give our residents a sense of the options that are available, ones they might not have considered, each year the program sets aside two noon conferences in late winter to detail those options. Representatives from each division and of a couple other research programs come to put names and projects to faces. Faculty areas of interest are divided up as are different types of research in general, bench vs translational, clinical trials vs data analysis. After the presentations, residents are invited to chat with the speakers afterward if they already have some ideas.
For those who are still mulling, the sessions are a great time for sparking ideas. Many speakers try to focus on projects that are “shovel-ready” or are at a point where a mentored set of hands could be useful on a project that already underway. Others mention faculty members who regularly add residents into their research activity or others who reached out to the speaker ahead of the session to ask for help on a specific task. What is made clear by each speaker though is just how willing every faculty member is to chatting with a resident who may be interested in their field. Doors stay open in Internal Medicine, especially to residents.
We are grateful to these division leaders for taking the time to present the research opportunities in their respective programs.
StARR Program: David Stoltz, MD, PhD
Allergy/Immunology & Rheumatology: Benjamin Davis, MD, PhD
Cardiology: Ferhaan Ahmad, MD, PhD
Endocrinology: Brian O’Neill, MD, PhD
Gastroenterology: Antonio Sanchez, MD
General Internal Medicine: Richard Hoffman, MD, MPH
Health Services Research Fellowship: Michael Ohl, MD, MSPH
Hem/Onc: Daniel Berg, MD
Infectious Disease: Judy Streit, MD
Nephrology: Diana Jalal, MD
Pulmonary/Critical Care: Alicia Gerke, MD, MBA
Sampling of presenter slides: