Growing our own: A regional approach to encourage psychiatric residents to enter research

Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
Academic Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 0.81). 05/2008; 32(3):236-40. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ap.32.3.236
Source: PubMed


This article describes a regional program developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center for training psychiatry residents in research and attracting them to academic careers.
The authors describe a low-cost, innovative program developed to increase the number of psychiatry residents entering postresidency research training fellowships by providing them with mentorship and exposure to seasoned researchers, didactic coursework, and a stipend to cover academic expenses.
Over the first 4 years, the program has generated enthusiastic participation among postgraduate year 3 (PGY-3) residents, with a high percentage of underrepresented ethnic minorities and women. Products include publication of four first-authored and two coauthored manuscripts, one first-authored abstract, submission of six additional papers, 28 academic presentations and development of research projects. Half of graduating awardees have gone on to pursue research careers.
Our regional approach provides sufficient academic expertise to make residency training feasible in a cost-effective manner.

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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND In 2003, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) drew attention to the critical national shortage of psychiatrist-researchers and the need for competency-based curricula to promote research training during psychiatry residency as one way to address this shortage at the institutional level. Here, the authors report on the adaptation, implementation, and results attained with a broadly applicable, developmental, competency-based framework for promoting scholarship during child and adolescent psychiatry residency. METHODS The authors instituted structural program changes, protecting time for all residents to engage in scholarly pursuits and a mentorship program to support residents in their scholarly interests. The authors assessed five graduating classes before and five classes after these changes were implemented, examining whether these changes sustained scholarship for residents with previous experience during general psychiatry residency and whether they promoted emergence of new scholarship among residents without such experience. RESULTS The authors observed a tenfold increase in the number of residents engaged in rigorously-defined scholarly pursuits after the program changes, which helped sustain the scholarship of more residents with previous experience and promoted the emergence of more new scholarship among residents without previous experience. CONCLUSION The authors conclude that it is possible to sustain and promote scholarship during child psychiatry residency despite the relatively short duration of the program and the many requirements for graduation and certification. The changes implemented were universal in scope and required no special funding mechanisms, making this approach potentially exportable to other training programs.
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