Independent Research as a Resident Physician: Novel Methods for Data Collection, Teaching, and Collaboration During Graduate Medical Training
Abstract: Since the mid-1990s, the US has seen a decline in research activities in medical education and academic health care centers. Our goal was to offer a multi-disciplinary experience for undergraduates to participate in a practical, hands-on research experience to increase the likelihood of entering STEM research careers. The authors structured a collaborative teaching environment to lead a group of over 25 undergraduate and graduate students in clinical research activities as part of the resident author’s research program during psychiatry graduate training. A particularly innovative component of this work, making the timeline and technical analysis possible, was the partnership with an industry sponsor. Much of the teaching program’s structure was inspired by the analogous program of the industry sponsor. This provided a structured clinical research experience for undergraduates, providing opportunities to participate in the study design, patient recruitment and enrollment, data collection and analysis phases of the project with more autonomy than typically available at this level of training. Students favored the experience with generally positive ratings of the program. Students gained skills and felt more comfortable in practical aspects of research and stated they were more likely to pursue a research career after this experience. This method may be a solution for other clinical trainees given their limited time and funding while serving to increase exposure to STEM research earlier in life to reverse the trend of declining research activity. This method can be used across other training institutions at different scales to achieve similar goals.