Fostering Passion and Skills in Surgical Research Across the Medical Education Continuum: The Transplant Research, Education, and Engagement Group

J Surg Educ. 2021 Jan-Feb;78(1):356-360. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2020.07.006. Epub 2020 Jul 29.


Objective: We describe a multilevel, collaborative research group for trainees and faculty engaging in transplant surgery research within one institution.

Design: Transplant Research, Education, and Engagement (TREE) was designed to develop trainees' research skills and foster enthusiasm in transplant surgery along the educational continuum. Our research model intentionally empowers junior researchers, including undergraduates and medical students, to assume active roles on a range of research projects and contribute new ideas within a welcoming research and learning environment.

Setting: Section of Transplant Surgery, Department of Surgery, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Participants: Undergraduate premedical students, first through fourth year medical students, general surgery residents, transplant surgery fellows, and transplant surgery faculty.

Results: TREE was founded in September 2019 and has grown to include over 30 active members who meet weekly and collaborate virtually on a range of research projects, many of which are led by students. Trainees can assume both mentee and mentor roles and build their research, presentation and writing skills while collaborating academically.

Conclusions: Our model has increased trainees' engagement in transplant research projects and fosters early enthusiasm for the field. This model can be feasibly replicated at other institutions and within other subspecialties.

Keywords: Medical education; Mentorship; Research; Resident education; Transplant surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Mentors
  • Michigan
  • Organ Transplantation*