We consider research to be an important part of resident training. To this end, formal research training is required as part of our structured, mentored research program and additional research is encouraged through a variety of opportunities. With these initiatives, the majority of our residents graduate with at least one and often several research publications, and many present their research at national and international academic conferences.
The formal research training program starts immediately upon arrival at BCM, where we encourage critical observation and an inquisitive spirit from day one. The first steps of the program – selection of a mentor and conceptualization of a project – lead to a supervised research proposal which is submitted in January of the PGY2 year. Over the next year and half, the research director and the faculty mentor guide the resident through best research practices, the institutional review board (IRB) process, patient enrollment, data collection, and statistical analysis. This process culminates in an oral presentation at the Resident Research Meeting in June of the PGY3 year. Many of these projects are also suitable for publication, and manuscript preparation and submission may occur at this time. In the PGY4 year, additional research, which can be with a new mentor and on an entirely different project, leads to a second oral presentation at the Resident Research Meeting in June of the PGY4 year. Publication of this second project is similarly encouraged. Informal research training also occurs throughout residency training in the forms of case report preparation, book chapter writing, other research projects, and structured presentations at Grand Rounds.
Our recent graduates have presented posters and papers at major academic conferences including the annual meetings of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Opportunities for internal funding for research projects and to conference attendance are available and encouraged.