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Implementing a Resident Research Program to Overcome Barriers to Resident Research

Rothberg, Michael B. MD, MPH; Kleppel, Reva MSW, MPH; Friderici, Jennifer L. MS; Hinchey, Kevin MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000281

Internal medicine residents are required to participate in scholarly activity, but conducting original research during residency is challenging. Following a poor Match at Baystate Medical Center, the authors implemented a resident research program to overcome known barriers to resident research. The multifaceted program addressed the following barriers: lack of interest, lack of time, insufficient technical support, and paucity of mentors. The program consisted of evidence-based medicine training to stimulate residents’ interest in research and structural changes to support their conduct of research, including protected time for research during ambulatory blocks, a research assistant to help with tasks such as institutional review board applications and data entry, a research nurse to help with data collection, easily accessible biostatistical support, and a resident research director to provide mentorship. Following implementation in the fall of 2005, there was a steady rise in the number of resident presentations at national meetings, then in the number of resident publications. From 2001 to 2006, the department saw 3 resident publications. From 2006 to 2012, that number increased to 39 (P< .001). The department also saw more original research (29 publications) and resident first authors (12 publications) after program implementation. The percentage of residents accepted into fellowships rose from 33% before program implementation to 49% after (P = .04). This comprehensive resident research program, which focused on evidence-based medicine and was tailored to overcome specific barriers, led to a significant increase in the number of resident Medline publications and improved the reputation of the residency program.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

Dr. Rothberg is vice chair for research, Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Ms. Kleppel is research coordinator, Internal Medicine Residency Program, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts.

Ms. Friderici is biostatistician, Division of Academic Affairs, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts.

Dr. Hinchey is chief academic officer, Division of Academic Affairs, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts.

Funding/Support: None reported.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: The study component of this article was approved as part of the Educational Innovations Program by the Baystate Medical Center institutional review board.

Previous presentations: This program was presented at the Society for General Internal Medicine National Meeting, Orlando, Florida, May 2012, in a presentation entitled “Creating a successful resident research program.”

Supplemental digital content for this article is available at

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Rothberg, Department of Internal Medicine, Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44195; telephone: (216) 445-6600; e-mail:

© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges