Training in research development, performance, and interpretation is a major focus of the fellowship. Fellows develop research programs designed to meet their future career goals, either as part of the Traditional Neonatology Fellowship Program or in conjunction with coursework required for an advanced degree. High quality research utilizing scientific methods are emphasized and include:
- Research performance – To attain competence in hypothesis development and experimental design, including problem solving, methodology, technical skills, analysis, and presentation of results. In addition, formal instruction on research design, ethics in research, and biostatistics is provided.
- Oral presentation – To attain confidence in public presentation of ideas, literature, and data. Wide opportunities exist for oral presentations at regional and national meetings.
- Written presentation – To attain experience in writing of research proposals, consent forms, grants, abstracts, and manuscripts.
Fellows are encouraged to gain experience in both clinical research and laboratory-based research. The scope and involvement in each type of research, however, will depend on their research interests. Those choosing to emphasize basic science research should have a clinical research experience of limited nature and vice versa. Optimally, the clinical and basic science projects will be complementary, encouraging the fellow to develop an in-depth understanding of a specific area of research.
A research mentor is critical to a fellow's success in planning and completing a research project. Many faculty members, within and outside of neonatology, are available to be research mentors, and have significant experience training successful fellows. Fellows will spend the early portion of their first year meeting potential mentors and discussing potential projects. With the help of the fellowship director and division chief, fellows will be matched to a mentor with similar interests.
The majority of the research training effort the first year is spent planning and initiating the research project(s). A Scholarly Oversight Committee (SOC) is formulated early in the first year to provide ongoing review and guidance, and continues to meet three times per year throughout the fellowship. Mentors and the SOC work closely with each fellow to provide guidance when preparing their formal research proposal that contains the objectives of the laboratory research project, specific aims, pertinent background information, and a detailed research plan.
Years 2 and 3
Second and third year fellows further develop their research and prepare for oral/written presentations. Those who are eligible are encouraged to apply for research funding from intramural and extramural sources. Research is prepared for publication and abstracts are submitted to one of the major national meetings, such as the American Thoracic Society and/or Pediatric Academic Societies. Mentors and the SOC continue to provide guidance in the development of abstracts, manuscripts, oral presentations, publications, and grant submissions. Whenever possible, fellows are expected to bring their work to completion by publishing their work in an appropriate journal.