Research Curriculum Track
General description of the Research Track
The UAB Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology has created a Residency Research Track (RRT) that offers a wide range of opportunities for clinical, basic and translational neuroscience research experiences. The goal of the RRT is to give psychiatry residents who are interested in a research career a substantial hands-on research experience (clinical, translational, basic science) during their psychiatry training. The program gives the research track resident both the theoretical knowledge and the practical clinical and research training that is necessary for a successful research career in academic psychiatry. The expected outcome of this training is successful entry into a research-focused postdoctoral position (or a career development award or other equivalent).
Residents may express interest in the research track at any point during their training, but usually formally apply to the track by March of their first year. The formal application involves a statement of interest, a CV, and letter of support from the mentor and an outline of the research project the resident will be participating in. Upon acceptance into the RRT, residents will be given protected research time, allowing an in-depth research training experience starting in second year. The training includes working with a senior investigator on a research project as well as didactic lectures.
Other residents for whom research may be an important but a less central component of their post-residency career will choose to participate in research opportunities outside the research track; elective time during the PGY-IV is available for them. The research track meetings are open for participation by all residents.
The RRT continues to develop as a unique prospective research training program for residents, and is one of the few programs nationwide that are modeled after the 2003 IOM report on training future generations of psychiatry researchers.
- A coordinated multiyear research training experience with protected time to pursue research projects and attend Research Track activities,
- A designated Research Track Director who coordinates the Research Track
- A formal application process with review of residents’ background and research proposals by the Research Track Training Committee,
- A system for matching the residents with scientific mentors with the assistance of a faculty leader,
- Clear minimal requirements focusing on time-limited projects such as secondary data analyses and reviews leading to first-author publications during residency,
- A rich, supportive learning environment provided by weekly RRT resident meetings, UAB Research Day participation and feedback on residents’ performance,
- Mandatory presentations of residents’ research projects, which are critiqued by peers under the direction of a senior faculty member,
- Practical workshops on biostatistics, grant writing and manuscript writing.
Specific Yearly Expectations and Benchmarks for RRT Residents
The focus of the PGY-I year is to educate RRT residents about what kinds of research are going on in the department, how to integrate a research identity into a clinical identity, to identify an area of interest and a research mentor.
Activities included a biannual meeting with the RRT director to discuss goals and expectations and facilitate meetings with potential mentors. With assistance of the RRT director the resident will arrange meetings with potential research mentors. The resident will also participate in research track meetings, and attend research day.
Institutional support includes protected time for research track meetings and research days.
In this year the residents have identified a research mentor and project. The focus of PGY-II is to establish a relationship with their identified mentor and to get actively involved in a research project.
Activities include a biannual meeting with the RRT director to assess feasibility of the project, obtaining human subjects protection certification, attending research track meetings, attending research day and participating in their mentor’s lab meeting and having individual meetings with their research mentor on a regular basis.
Institutional support includes protected time for research track meetings and research day, lab meetings and meetings with the mentor. Up to two months of protected time is available (the resident will continue to participate in PGY-II residency educational activities, continues to see two therapy patients and remain in the call pool during this time).
In this year, the residents are fully imbedded in the RRT. They are actively working on designing and implementing their projects, and are meeting other clinical researchers at the University. The developmental goal for this year is learning how to multitask and set limits, i.e., balancing the clinical demands and research demands. The focus of PGY-III is to work on a project, learn appropriate methodologies, statistical approaches, and data presentation.
Activities include a biannual meeting with the RRT director to evaluate progress of the project, attending research track meetings, presenting a poster at research day, participating in all lab meetings of their research mentor and individual meetings with their research mentor on a monthly basis.
Institutional support includes up to 20% protected time for research related activities and protected time for research track meetings and research day.
In this year, the residents are fully imbedded in the RRT and are working towards more independence as an upcoming postdoctoral fellow. They are actively working on completing and synthesizing their projects, and are presenting their work at national meetings. They are also meeting with other researchers through local and national conferences. The developmental goal is to establish their identity in a field of interest and building on this identity for their further training. The focus of PGY-IV is to complete the research track project, prepare and submit the results for publication, and give a Grand Rounds Presentation on the project and its outcomes.
Activities include a biannual meeting with the RRT director to evaluate progress of the project and discuss career goals, attending research track meetings, presenting a poster at a national meeting, applying for travel fellowships participating in all lab meetings of their research mentor and individual meetings with their research mentor on a monthly basis.
Institutional support includes up to 80% protected time for research related activities and protected time for research track meetings and research day.
The research track diverges from the general track in second year. Service requirements are reduced in a manner to allow significant portions of time to pursue research. Protected time during second year is available as a block of up to two month. Protected time during third and fourth year can be scheduled in bocks (basic science research) or as a longitudinal experience (translational or clinical research).
- Regular attendance in research track meetings (at least 70% for PGY-II or higher, attendance is strongly encouraged during intern year)
- Regular attendance in lab meetings and individual meetings with research mentor
- Biannual meetings with the RRT director
- Measureable progress on research project as documented by yearly progress reports of the research mentor to the RRT director
- Presentation at two UAB research days (typically poster presentation)
- Poster presentation or oral presentation at one national meeting
- Submission of a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal
- Should the resident continuously fail to meet benchmarks, it is upon discretion of the RRTC to reappoint the resident to the general track. In this case, the resident will fulfill all requirements for the general track.