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Impact of a structured obstetrics and gynecology residency research program

      Objective

      The Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education requires that all obstetrics and gynecology residency programs ensure resident participation in scholarly activities.
      Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
      Obstetrics and Gynecology Common Program Requirements.
      A previous national obstetrics and gynecology program director survey demonstrated that 95% require research projects and that successful programs often had a research rotation and/or a formal research curriculum.
      • Kenton K.
      • Brubaker L.
      Research education in obstetrics and gynecology: how are we doing?.
      Other studies specific to obstetrics and gynecology residency programs have highlighted other mechanisms to improve productivity including a biweekly research workgroup
      • Brackmann M.
      • Reynolds R.K.
      • Uppal S.
      • McLean K.
      Association of a biweekly research workgroup with enhanced resident research productivity.
      and research study teams.
      • Brubaker L.
      • Kenton K.
      Clinical research education study teams: a research curriculum for obstetric and gynecology residents.
      At the University of Colorado obstetrics and gynecology residency program, we instituted a formal research curriculum in 2013 (Figure) after the appointment of 2 Assistant Residency Program Directors (APDs). We also incorporated a summer research didactic curriculum and introduced an internal departmental grant funding mechanism. In this study, we determined the impact of this structured program on scholarly productivity as defined by the number of presented posters or oral abstracts at national conferences and published peer-reviewed manuscripts.
      Figure thumbnail gr1
      FigureStructured resident research program
      Description of timeline for resident research program at the University of Colorado.
      IRB, Institutional Review Board; PGY, Postgraduate year.
      Guiahi. Structured residency research program. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2019.

      Study Design

      Because the program was initiated in 2013, we defined the preintervention group as those who graduated between 2012 and 2014 (n=27); the postintervention group was defined as those who graduated between 2016 and 2018 (n=27). In May 2018, 2 investigators (M.G. and S.M.) independently searched for abstracts and publications via PubMed and Google search engines using resident names, mentor names, and project titles. We sought confirmations from residents and/or mentors and performed an updated review in April 2019. Projects were counted as acceptances if the resident name was included as an author, irrespective of authorship order or whether the resident actually presented. We compared the proportions of accepted abstracts and manuscripts using Fisher’s exact tests. Institutional review board approval was waived because this did not qualify as research on human subjects.

      Results

      The proportion of poster presentations increased from 44% (n=12) to 89% (n=24) after program implementation (P=.001). Oral abstract presentations were unchanged (n=3 [11%] in both groups). Manuscript publications increased from 26% (n=7) to 63% (n=17) after program implementation (P=.01).

      Conclusion

      Scholarly productivity is often viewed as a marker of a program’s academic rigor and a reflection of the quality of research training.
      • Kenton K.
      • Brubaker L.
      Research education in obstetrics and gynecology: how are we doing?.
      Scholarly productivity during residency also has implications for the individual resident on future employment opportunities, including fellowship matching, the pursuit of academic careers, and participation in subsequent research activities.
      • Kenton K.
      • Brubaker L.
      Research education in obstetrics and gynecology: how are we doing?.
      • Yang G.
      • Zaid U.B.
      • Erickson B.A.
      • Blaschko S.D.
      • Carroll P.R.
      • Breyer B.N.
      Urology resident publication output and its relationship to future academic achievement.
      Our study demonstrates that the incorporation of dedicated faculty as APDs to create and lead a highly structured research program significantly improved scholarly productivity among residents and the faculty members that mentor them. We recognize several enablers that contributed to programmatic success that included the residents within the program, many of whom are interested in academic careers and have a baseline interest in research. The incorporation of APDs across 2 of the 3 sites at which residents rotate provided ongoing support, particular when troubleshooting was needed. Further, we recognize that programmatic success also relied on the high levels of scholarly productivity by the APDs themselves and that we had administrative support available within the department for institutional review board submission and statistical analyses. We also recognize barriers to program sustainability that include mentor burnout and a lack of expertise by some faculty to provide mentorship, despite interest. Our experience highlights the need for a program-specific approach that includes oversight by dedicated faculty members to achieve a robust resident research program.

      References

        • Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
        Obstetrics and Gynecology Common Program Requirements.
        (Available at:)
        • Kenton K.
        • Brubaker L.
        Research education in obstetrics and gynecology: how are we doing?.
        Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007; 197: 532.e1-532.e4
        • Brackmann M.
        • Reynolds R.K.
        • Uppal S.
        • McLean K.
        Association of a biweekly research workgroup with enhanced resident research productivity.
        Obstet Gynecol. 2016; 128: 617-620
        • Brubaker L.
        • Kenton K.
        Clinical research education study teams: a research curriculum for obstetric and gynecology residents.
        Obstet Gynecol. 2011; 117: 1403-1407
        • Yang G.
        • Zaid U.B.
        • Erickson B.A.
        • Blaschko S.D.
        • Carroll P.R.
        • Breyer B.N.
        Urology resident publication output and its relationship to future academic achievement.
        J Urol. 2011; 185: 642-646