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Acad Med. 2009 Sep;84(9):1295-300. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181b18861.

Integrating research training into residency: tools of human investigation.

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  • 1Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.


Although the need for new physician-clinical scientists has never been greater, significant obstacles deter young physicians from careers in clinical research. Local and federal programs have sought to stimulate interest in clinical research among young physicians, medical students, and even undergraduates, but few formal programs have specifically focused on stimulating interest among residents in training. The recent implementation of strict duty hours regulations has provided residents with additional time to focus on career choices, and this has created an opportunity for training programs to offer new educational initiatives during residency. The authors present Tools of Human Investigation (THI), a two-week rotation offered during the second year of residency. The goals of THI are to provide seminar-based exposure to research methodologies, to impart the tools required to critically appraise the scientific literature, and to provide a small-group forum for career discussions. These three goals are achieved by drawing on a group of research faculty to lead sessions that combine didactics with career development guidance. A course like THI is one innovative way to stimulate interest in human research during residency that could help bridge the discontinuity between the research explorations promoted during medical school and the rigorous expectations of fellowship.

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