Bridging the Gap

Supporting Translational Research Careers Through an Integrated Research Track Within Residency Training

Published in: Academic Medicine, v. 88, no. 6, June 2013, p. 759-765

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013

by Melissa R. Arbuckle, Joshua Gordon, Harold Alan Pincus, Maria A. Oquendo

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In the setting of traditional residency training programs, physician-scientists are often limited in their ability to pursue research training goals while meeting clinical training requirements. This creates a gap in research training at a critical developmental stage. In response, Columbia University Medical Center's Department of Psychiatry, in partnership with the New York State Psychiatric Institute, has created a formal Research Track Program (RTP) for psychiatry residents so that interested individuals can maintain their attention on research training during formative residency years. Clinical and research training are integrated through core clinical rotations on research units. With protected research time and clear developmental milestones for each year of training, the RTP allows research track residents to meet both clinical and research training goals while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In coordination with existing postdoctoral research fellowship programs, research track residents can effectively jump-start fellowship training with advanced course work and consistent, continuous mentorship bridging residency and fellowship years. A key element of the program is its provision of core training in research literacy and extensive research opportunities for all residents, stimulating research interest across the whole residency program. Supported by the National Institutes of Health and a private foundation, this RTP capitalizes on a unique academic-private partnership to address many of the challenges facing physician-scientists. By integrating clinical and research exposures and offering protected research time, careful mentoring, and financial resources, the program aims to further the development of those most poised to establish careers in translational research.

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