STIMULATING ACCESS TO RESEARCH IN RESIDENCY (StARR) PROGRAM
The UIC StARR Program is an NHLBI-funded career development program that seeks to recruit internal medicine residents of varied backgrounds and experiences to undergo mentored clinical/translational research training related to the areas of cardiovascular, pulmonary, or hematologic diseases that will foster opportunities to help lead the next generation of highly diverse and skilled physician-investigators in the biomedical sciences.
StARR resident-investigators complete an extra year of residency as a PGY4. This fourth year will consist of at least 80% protected time committed to research activities by the end of which a mentored research project will be completed, and specific milestones will be met. Ultimately, these activities will culminate in the preparation of a K38 or equivalent career development award. The remaining 20% of PGY4 time will be available individualized clinical assignments and/or to aid the Chief Resident of Research and Education with respect to teaching and mentoring activities involving the internal medicine housestaff. The UIC StARR Program is supported by a grant from NHLBI.
UIC StARR Program Timeline. Resident-investigators may apply during PGY1 with applications accepted and applicants selected in the first quarter of the intern year. Trainees will then identify research projects and mentors by the middle of PGY1. The second half of PGY1 through PGY3 will be focused on research project implementation and development as well as the pursuit of relevant coursework, research training and other programs including those related to career development. Finally, a PGY4 year will be largely focused on project completion, presentation at a national meeting and preparation of research manuscripts and K38 or equivalent grant applications.
*While this represents an idealized timeline, opportunities to become a StARR scholar may be made available at any time prior to the PGY4 year in coordination with the program PIs.
Research opportunities in the UIC StARR program are comprised of four thematic areas based on training in specific techniques and approaches to be utilized and applied to mentored research projects offered across a range of potential areas of scientific focus. Broadly, these thematic areas are:
- Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Disease
- Implementation/ Dissemination Sciences and Health Equity
- Precision Medicine and Computational Approaches
- Applied Technology and Innovation
StARR faculty preceptors will supervise engagement in the research project, interact weekly with the trainee, review experiments and raw data, help the trainee to develop project-specific research skills including experimental design, critical thinking, data analysis and presentation skills as well as manuscript and grant writing. The program is comprised of 18 prospective, independently funded mentors with a wide range of scientific expertise directly relevant to the four major thematic areas
Potential StARR program research opportunities can be found at the UIC Project And Investigative Research (PAIR) Database.
The 20% non-research time is structured by one of two pathways, which allow for flexibility based upon the scholars’ interests as well as to ensure the scholars acquire clinical autonomy similar to other PGY-4 experiences.
Pathway #1: StARR Scholar and Associate Chief Resident of Research
In this pathway, 20% non-research time can be comprised of:
- Clinical duties (10%) including either one subspecialty longitudinal clinic for 20-26 weeks in the year + 2 weeks of attending on VA wards OR 4 weeks of attending on VA wards
- Associate Chief Resident of Research Duties (10%)
Pathway #2: StARR Scholar alone
In this pathway, 20% non-research time could be comprised of the following clinical duties: subspecialty longitudinal clinic for most weeks out of the year + 4 weeks of attending on VA wards OR 8 weeks of attending on VA wards.
Administration of the UIC StARR program is lead by the Principal Investigators who review program applications and are responsible for overall program administration. Resident-investigators will partner with a faculty preceptor to develop and implement independent research plan. Two separate committees will be convened specifically for and will meet at regular intervals with each resident-investigator. These include a Research Advisory Committee which will review research training and project progress and a Career Fostering Committee which will provide guidance with respect to career development.
UIC StARR scholars receive NIH salary support during their PGY-4 year. There is a $40,000/year supplementary research budget for career development/research-related expenses that is supported by the NHLBI ($20,000) and the Department of Medicine ($20,000), and a $3,000/year travel budget to attend scientific meetings.
Program Directors and Principal Investigators
Steve Dudek, MD
Professor of Medicine
Chief, Division of Pulmonary
Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy
Mark McCauley, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director, Electrophysiology Program
Division of Cardiology
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