Research is one of many great traditions at the University of Illinois. Our residents can participate in both lab and clinical research. Nearly all residents who participate in research receive co-authorship on abstracts and manuscripts. And most of these residents present their work at the Midwest Anesthesia Residents Conference, an annual gathering of anesthesiology residents from numerous Midwest anesthesiology residency programs.
Over the past several years, our residents have presented abstracts at various national and local conferences. They have published papers in major journals such as Anesthesiology, Anesthesia and Analgesia, and the Journal of Clinical Anesthesia. So how do they do it? Simple. They provide the motivation and ideas. We provide the encouragement and support.
The Research Track will typically consist of 6 continuous months in the CA-3 year, although it could also occur during the CA-2 year. It is also possible to divide the six months up into three 2, or two 3, month continuous blocks. Residents interested in the Research Track are encouraged to begin planning or exploring potential research opportunities during their CA-1 or 2 year. Residents may explore these opportunities with individual faculty members, and/or seek the guidance of the Vice Head for Research in identifying mentors and/or research projects in the Department of Anesthesiology.
Resident Qualifications: Residents considered for the Research Track, should have achieved consistently good in-training exam results and be at least in the 40th percentile range. The resident’s clinical abilities must be judged to always meet objectives, and evidence of exceeding objectives is highly desired. The resident must be in good standing in the opinion of the Clinical Competence Committee. The Research Track shortens the clinical element of residency by six months, and the Clinical Competence Committee must be sure that the clinical skills of the applicant are not likely to be diminished by the applicant’s participation in the Research Track. For projects involving animal or human studies, appropriate IACUC or IRB training and approval must be obtained before the start of the project. IACUC or IRB approval is not required to apply for the Research Track, but documentation of approval is required before starting the Research Track rotation. In order to maintain clinical skills during the rotation, it is expected that the resident will continue to take call and/or occasionally work during the day schedule, for a length of time mutually agreeable between the resident, mentor, and department head.
Project Description: The choice of the resident’s research project should be tailored to the interests and ability of the applicant and be relevant for entrance into a career in academic anesthesia. The project may be in basic laboratory research, clinical research, translational, or a population-based study. It must be conducted at the University or at University-affiliated hospitals (e.g., the VA), although not necessarily in the Anesthesiology Department.
Mentor: An involved, supportive and experienced mentor is essential for a successful Research Track experience. It is expected that the mentor will be an active and accomplished investigator. Typically, a mentor will be a member of the Anesthesiology faculty with a history of successful research, publishing and grant support. Characteristics of a desirable mentor include a record of successful mentorship, research accomplishment, expertise in the proposed approaches, and enthusiasm for the project, the applicant, and the applicant’s academic development. The mentor must make a written commitment to continuous, direct supervision of the Research Track resident in developing research expertise and achieving the goals of the research proposal.
The ABA guidelines from the annual Booklet of Information will also be adhered to: There are options for research during the anesthesiology residency. Interested residents could spend approximately 25% of a 3- or 4-year training program, and 38% of a 5-year program, engaged in scholarly activities. Suggested templates for research during the anesthesiology residency are posted on the ABA website at:
The program director must develop a plan with strict guidelines for research activity and “work product” oversight if a resident’s research activities will be more than six months. The resident must be enrolled in an ACGME-accredited anesthesiology program and remain active in the educational component of the program while pursuing research. Involvement in scholarly activities must result in the generation of a specific permanent “work product.” Review of scholarly activity and the permanent work product will occur at the local level by a Scholarship Oversight Committee responsible for overseeing and assessing the trainee’s progress and verifying to the ABA that the requirement has been met. The
Scholarship Oversight Committee must consist of three or more faculty members. The program director may serve as a trainee’s mentor and participate in the activities of the Scholarship Oversight Committee, but should not be a
standing member. By prospective (at least four months in advance) application to the Credentials Committee of the ABA, exceptions will be considered for:
• Aggregating research time normally allocated across the clinical base and clinical anesthesia years into one or more years, allowing a significant amount of time to be used for research as a block
• Leave of absence from the clinical program for research activities
• Additional months in research, especially if the research is prospectively integrated in the training program
A resident must have a satisfactory Clinical Competence Committee report for six months of clinical anesthesia training immediately preceding any research period unless prospectively approved by the ABA Credentials Committee.