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Bridging the Gap: Supporting Translational Research Careers Through an Integrated Research Track Within Residency Training

Arbuckle, Melissa R. MD, PhD; Gordon, Joshua A. MD, PhD; Pincus, Harold A. MD; Oquendo, Maria A. MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31828ffacb
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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.

Dr. Arbuckle is associate professor of clinical psychiatry and associate director of residency training, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York.

Dr. Gordon is associate professor and director of neuroscience education within residency training, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York.

Dr. Pincus is professor and vice chair for strategic initiatives, Department of Psychiatry, and codirector, Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Columbia University, New York, New York; director of quality and outcomes research, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York; and senior scientist, RAND Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Oquendo is professor of clinical psychiatry and vice chair for education, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York.

First published online April 24, 2013

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Arbuckle, Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, 1051 Riverside Dr., Box 103, New York, NY 10032; telephone: (212) 543-5554; e-mail: ma2063@columbia.edu.

© 2013 Association of American Medical Colleges