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Otolaryngology Residency Program

Research

HOW RESIDENTS BECOME INVOLVED IN RESEARCH

 

 Resident(s) become involved in research through several different mechanisms. Six to twelve months before his/her 6-month research rotation, the resident(s) start a series of discussions with the research faculty. The Director of Research assures that the resident finds the time and makes appointments with the research faculty to start these discussions. The resident(s) also talk to the full-time faculty regarding possible research projects and ideas. The Director of Research oversees the discussion process.  As a result, the resident may decide to: 

a)    Create their own research project and, with the help of the research faculty, design the experimental protocol.  The 6 to 12 months before the research period are used to become familiar with the literature, develop necessary models, obtain IACUC or IRB approval, and define the project.  Literature searches of related and previous work are done, local experts in the field are contacted, or if no local experts exist, individuals outside Vanderbilt are contacted. Special equipment/supplies (e.g. lasers or medications) are secured so that research is not delayed once the research period begins. Resident(s) identify a faculty member to serve as mentor and interact with the mentor throughout this pre-research planning period, as well as the research period.

b)    Help to initiate a research project together with a faculty member that was suggested by the faculty member. The amount of planning of the project depends strongly upon the faculty member and resident.  The 6 to 12 months before the research period are used to become familiar with the literature, develop necessary models, obtain IACUC or IRB approval, and define the project.   Literature searches of related and previous work are done, local experts in the field are contacted, or if no local experts exist, individuals outside Vanderbilt are contacted.  Special equipment/supplies (e.g. lasers or medications) are secured so that research is not delayed once the research period begins. Resident(s) identify a faculty member to serve as mentor and interact with the mentor throughout this pre-research planning period, as well as the research period.

c)    Join an active research team and taking on a component of an ongoing project as their own research.  In this instance, the planning of the research has generally been initiated before the resident starts. The 6 to 12 months before the research are then spent reading the literature and discussing the current research status with the investigators.  The resident's role in the project is clearly defined to be distinct from the ongoing research. This definition may necessitate additional IACUC or IRB approval, as well as development of the details of their project.  Special equipment/supplies (e.g. lasers or medications) are secured so that research is not delayed once the research period begins.  Resident(s) interact with the faculty mentor throughout this period and the research period.

d)    The resident can also identify experts at Vanderbilt and work to solve a problem that they encountered in a clinical situation.  In this case, the research proceeds as above:  The 6 to 12 months before the research period are spent reading the literature. The resident project is clearly defined and must be distinct from any ongoing research.  The resident must obtain the approval of the Director of Research regarding the project, and the resident’s role in the project.  The Director of Research normally contacts the expert and makes certain that the research is appropriate for the resident.  The project may require that the resident obtain IACUC or IRB approval and develop the details of their project.  Special equipment/supplies (e.g. lasers or medications) are secured so that research is not delayed once the research period begins. The resident works with the local expert, but also speaks with the Director of Research periodically.  The Director of Research makes certain that the research is progressing appropriately.

Before initiation of the research project, the proposed research to be carried out during the 6-month research rotation is written up in a short proposal with a budget.  The written proposal states the objectives of the research, the proposed model and a brief description of the analysis to be used.  The budget is detailed.  This proposal and its budget are reviewed by a committee composed of research faculty before the research begins.  Once the research project is sufficiently well defined and the budget is reasonable, the Chairman authorizes funding for the research from the Department Research Fund.

Although under the guidance of the faculty, the resident always maintains the primary responsibility for his/her research. Resident(s) are responsible for the day-to-day research progress.  The resident keeps all the data and compiles the first round of data analysis. The research mentor can suggest sources of help or alternatives, if necessary.  Typically, the mentor must make suggestions to keep the project on the defined path.  The resident(s) typically write the manuscript to be submitted for publication from their research experience. The resident(s) create any charts or graphs needed for the publication.  They also make any histological micrographs for the publication.

PGY-2, PGY-3 and PGY-4 residents  must present a research paper at the Resident Recognition Weekend which takes place in June.  Resident(s), therefore, must complete at least one research project each year. The projects in subsequent years can be additional steps in the research started during the research rotation.  The research in subsequent years can also be a new project.  These new projects follow the same procedures as outlined above, except they typically involve less interaction with the Director of Research.

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