“When it comes to research and academic leadership, we use an immersive curriculum that offers important flexibility so our residents can personalize their education,” says Ginny Bumgardner, MD, PhD, director of Ohio State’s Professional Development and Research Training Program (RTP). “We believe tomorrow’s surgeon-scientists and leaders in academic medicine have to have this kind of in-depth research experience before they start their careers — it can’t be left to on-the-job training. If you’ve already done it, you understand what’s needed, so you can be effective even early in your career.”
During the training program, each Ohio State resident is given protected time and support to complete three distinct phases:
- Preparation for research – Trainees select their mentor, apply to graduate school, submit fellowship and funding applications, and select courses that fulfill advanced degree curricular requirements.
- Research training – Residents conduct mentored research, participate in research-in-progress presentations, attend quarterly meetings, submit abstracts to and present research results at national meetings, network with members of the research and professional community, receive feedback, periodically self-assess their progress toward individualized training goals and continue to participate in core departmental activities.
- Extended development – This includes participation in departmental or institutional committees, taking on leadership responsibilities for committee work or special projects, continuing publication and research presentations, applying to surgery subspecialty fellowships or other specialty training and serving as a resource for new surgery residents.
Every resident is required to dedicate at least one year to the program — many choose two. In addition to research-specific skills, Dr. Bumgardner notes additional benefits gained, including skills related to time-management, journal review, leadership, communication, career development, collaboration and self-advocacy.
“Our trainees quickly learn what they need and how to ask for it,” she says. “Our ultimate goal is for each resident to enhance their critical thinking skills and develop their clinical and translational research capabilities. Even if they aren’t interested in being a full-time surgeon-scientist, every outstanding leader needs to understand how impactful translational, clinical and health services research and surgery education research should be done. And because medicine is continually evolving, research competency will only enhance each surgeon’s future care of their patients.”
Ohio State is currently planning an alumni survey to ensure the RTP continues to teach the most valuable and relevant skills, particularly in the earliest years of a faculty career. The general surgery residency program has also secured a training grant, the National Institutes of Health's Advanced Research Training in Immunology for Surgical Trainees (ARTIST T32), which supports residents who want to dedicate two full-time years toward research education and training while earning a Master of Science in Medical Science. During this time, their mentored research and didactics will focus on the study of immune mechanisms mediating tissue injury, tissue repair, regeneration and replacement, and immune regulation.
You can find more information about Ohio State’s Professional Development and Research Training Program here.