The research experience in our training program is based on a mentor: fellow relationship that is meaningful, interactive at frequent intervals, and leads to formulation of the research problem, determination of appropriate experimental design, use of appropriate research methodology, analysis of data, interpretation of results and, eventually, publication in peer-reviewed journals. In our program, almost all fellows publish in peer-reviewed journals and present their work at national endocrine meetings.
In addition, fellows who choose the clinical educator pathway are expected to perform a Quality Improvement project at the VAMC. At the beginning of the second year, fellows meet to discuss possible projects with VAMC endocrine faculty. The fellows are asked to identify a potential area for performance improvement based upon their prior and current clinical ambulatory at the VAMC and to draft a plan to address this. Once the faculty mentor and fellow agree upon a project, the fellow meets regularly with the faculty mentor to review progress and to troubleshoot.
In addition to basic, translational, and clinical research, fellows present at Clinical Conferences, Journal Club, and Research Seminars. They are encouraged to write up and publish informative cases that they encounter during their training. Finally, faculty members are encouraged to ask fellows to participate in writing invited Chapters or Reviews, with appropriate authorship designation.
Divisional research training grants allow fellows on the research pathway to pursue this on a full time basis and opportunities are available for fellows both within and outside of the Division of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism. Fellows who are pursuing investigative careers may also continue their research efforts as a research associate with additional years of training after completion of the required two years by the RRC and with faculty support, they have been successful at obtaining mentored funding.
Research training may be supplemented by formal graduate basic science courses at the University. The University of Pennsylvania offers fellows opportunities for obtaining additional post-graduate education in clinical research.
First, the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB) offers the Masters of Science in Clinical Epidemiology program, which is NIH funded. One of our Division members is an active CCEB faculty member.
Second, the Department of Experimental Therapeutics oversees the Masters of Science in Translational Research (MTR) program, which is coordinated with the NIH-funded Clinical Research Center (CRC) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Third, the Leonard Daivs Institute collaborates with the Perelman School of Medicine to offer a Masters in Health Services training program.
Fourth, there is a yearlong non-degree program in Patient Oriented Research, also run by the Department of Experimental Therapeutics and the CRC that is open to all fellows interested in clinical research methodologies.