Research Requirements

Overview and Philosophy:

All fellows in the Division are expected to be involved in research during their three year of training. Regardless of a fellow's career plans, participation in research is viewed as an essential part of fellowship training by both the Division faculty and the ACGME. Fellows must complete the research requirement to be eligible to sit for ABIM examinations. The faculty is committed to supporting fellows in their research endeavors and multiple systems are in place to assure their success.

The Associate Fellowship Program Director for Research oversees the fellows' research progress with the advice and support of the Fellowship Program Research Committee who meets with the fellow every 6 months, at a minimum, to provide guidance and feedback about their projects.

Early in each academic year faculty will present summaries of their current research activities and how fellows may be integrated. Fellows are also encouraged to meet individually with faculty to better understand the research opportunities that are available. They can also contact Dr. Dransfield, Dr. Cooper or Dr. de Andrade for additional guidance. It is anticipated that fellows will have identified a primary mentor by early in the spring of their first year. The mentor should acknowledge responsibility for training the particular fellow in research. That mentor will be asked to compete evaluations of the fellows progress in research. Identification of a primary mentor is essential to successful research during fellowship. The mentor will be expected to supervise the fellow's research activity insuring that benchmarks for progress are met and will report to the Fellow Research Committee.

In addition to a primary mentor and the Fellowship Program Research Committee, there are also small group meetings (including the Shrunken Heads Conference in the Lung Health Center) between the fellows and faculty that will help facilitate collaboration and provide opportunities for the fellows to present their ideas and receive feedback.

It is recognized that fellows may plan various careers after leaving fellowship including pursuit of academic careers with major research activity, clinical academic careers, and private practice. The fellowship recognizes this and has developed a two-track system to support each of these goals optimally. At the end of the first year fellows will be placed into one of the two tracks based on their interests with the approval of the Fellowship Program Research Committee. The two tracks, Physician Scientist and Clinical Scholar, are viewed as equally important programs by the Division.

Training Tracks and Expectations:

The Clinical Scholar Track is designed for fellows who wish to pursue a career in academics with a focus on teaching and clinical care and for those who plan to enter private practice. Fellows on this track will complete 22-24 months of clinical time and have 12-14 months protected for research. The additional clinical rotations should support the fellow's clinical interests and career plans. These electives should be planned early in the fellowship and in close collaboration with the Fellowship Program Education Committee. Fellows on the Clinical Scholar Track are required to complete a research project and at a minimum will be expected to present their work in the form of an abstract at a national meeting and to the Division in the third year. Alternatively, a published review paper in the area of investigation would fulfill the requirement for scholarly activities.

The Physician Scientist Track is designed for individuals who have an interest in pursuing a career in clinical or basic research in an academic setting. It is anticipated that the trainee will complete 18 months of clinical time and have 18 months to devote to research. During their dedicated research time most fellows will pursue a masters level degree to support their career plans. This may be in the UAB School of Public Health or in the UAB Department of Physiology with whom the Division has training agreements. In rare circumstances, other programs may be approved by the Fellowship Program Research Committee if they better support the trainee's career goals. Fellows may pursue basic, translational or clinical research projects but each must be under the direction of an established mentor and approved by the Fellowship Program Research Committee. It is expected that, at a minimum, the fellow will have a manuscript submitted for publication by the end of the three year training program and be prepared to apply for initial grant funding. Fellows on the Physician Scientist Track will present the background and rationale for their project to the Division during the second year and then present their results during Pulmonary Grand Rounds in the third year.

The following is an anticipated timeline for incoming first year fellows:

July-September - faculty present research activities to fellows; fellows meet with the Associate Fellowship Program Director for Research to discuss their initial projects and career goals

September-January - Fellows continue to meet with faculty on an individual basis to inquire about research opportunities

January-March - A primary mentor is selected and approved by the Fellowship Program Research Committee

March - June - Meetings with the mentor continue; track decisions are made Thereafter, timelines will vary with track and the project subject to the minimal requirements discussed above.

Fellowship Program Research Committee : Victor Thannickal, Allen Cooper, Joao deAndrade, Keith Wille, Mark Dransfield (Associate Fellowship Program Director for Research and Committee Chairperson), William Bailey, Ed Blalock, Steve Rowe, Amit Gaggar

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