Background: Internal medicine residents at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation stay engaged with clinical work and have difficulty initiating and completing research and publishing their scholarly activities. Commonly cited barriers include lack of knowledge about institutional research programs, lack of confidence regarding medical writing skills, lack of time, and failure to understand the value of research. The residency directors at Ochsner initiated the Consolidated Academic and Research Exposition (CARE) program to teach basic research skills and encourage residents' interest and productivity in research.
Methods: The CARE program includes 4 core components: house staff mentoring and the Resident Career Development Program, a journal club, medical writing instruction, and research engagement. Particular emphasis is given to projects that could be completed within a 1-month period and result in publication, enabling residents to use a 1-month elective rotation during their first postgraduate year. The sessions are mandatory for residents, except for those on specified rotations, including the critical care service and the night float rotation and those who are postcall.
Results: In 2010-2011, 6 residents submitted abstracts to the Louisiana Chapter of the American College of Physicians Associates meeting; 2 abstracts were accepted for presentation. In 2011-2012, there were 14 submissions, 4 of which were accepted for presentation. In 2010-2011, there were 4 submissions to the Southern Hospitalist Conference, which increased to 7 submissions in 2011-2012. The second best presentation award at the Southern Hospitalist Conference was also earned by a resident of this institution. The program saw a 110% total increase in scholarly activity from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012.
Discussion: The CARE program has been in existence for approximately 1 year. Preliminary results were tabulated based on research proposals, posters, abstracts, case reports, and presentations submitted and/or accepted at leading medical conferences over the past year as compared to the same period 1 year ago. Residents, based on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Resident Survey responses, were more satisfied with the opportunities provided to them to participate in research or scholarly activities. Our preliminary results suggest that an organized, structured research curriculum in internal medicine residency programs is critical to promoting, initiating, and completing scholarly activity during a residency program.
Conclusion: Ochsner's CARE program has appreciably enhanced internal medicine residents' interest in research-related activity, resulting in a significant increase in resident-authored research papers, abstracts, posters, and case reports being accepted at leading national medical conferences.
Keywords: ACGME requirements; resident research; scholarly activity.