The faculty of the Department of Surgery recognizes the importance of mentored research in the training of general surgery house officers.  Although such an experience can be obtained during clinical training, the faculty believe that all general surgery house officers would benefit from and should a consider a one- to three-year dedicated research experience in the laboratory of a peer-review funded investigator.  The Department of Surgery offers a number of research opportunities within the department and in the College of Medicine. The majority of our residents enter a research laboratory at the end of year 3 and spend 2 years performing research. During this time some residents opt to obtain a Master’s or PhD (minimum 3 research years) as part of their research program. Residents obtain formal education in statistics and responsible conduct of research (RCR) training during their time in the research program.

Choosing the right research experience:  The decision to participate in a mentored research experience should be made by the house officer in consultation with their faculty mentor, the chairperson, and the Department of Surgery Research Advisory Committee.  That decision should be based on the career objectives of the house officer and their past research and clinical experiences.

The duration of the research experience should depend on the overall career goals of the house officer. Individuals who plan to pursue either a career in private practice or specialty training in a surgical subspecialty may choose one or two years of research to obtain the skills and experiences necessary to successfully compete for those positions. Individuals seeking an academic career, with the ultimate goal of establishing their own research program and/or competing for peer-reviewed funding, may require two or three years of research with a formal didactic component.  To provide opportunities for house officers to pursue advanced degrees, the Department of Surgery works closely with the College of Medicine.

It is an expectation at the University of Florida, Surgical Residency Program that categorical general surgery residents will complete at least one (1) hypothesis-driven research project suitable for peer review during their residency period. Ideally, the project will culminate in a manuscript that will be submitted for publication; although it is not our expectation that publication of the work is required. It is also the expectation that the resident will present the findings of this research at either a local, national or departmental forum.

  • This project can be either a retrospective or a prospective analysis (or other scholarly activity that has been approved by the Educational Committee and the Research Advisory Committee) in which the resident will:
    a. Define a research hypothesis
    b. Develop and implement a research plan
    c. Collect and analyze data
    d. Interpret findings
    e. Prepare a manuscript suitable for publication and a presentation for the Department of Surgery Research Day.
  • General surgery residents will collaborate with a faculty member who is actively and simultaneously engaged in the conduct of the research project. It is anticipated that resident and faculty research project mentors will meet often enough to ensure successful completion of the scholarly project. Faculty may recruit residents to assist in their research endeavors OR residents may recruit faculty to assist in the conduct of their proposed research.
  • All faculty are encouraged to become involved in this process.
  • While all research projects are different, it is estimated that once most research projects are conceived and designed, the actual implementation of the research should not take more than one (1) year. This includes data collection, data analysis and interpretation, and preparation of a manuscript suitable for publication.
  • Every resident’s progress with this research initiative will be gauged during semi-annual resident review. Their individual project will be discussed and their progress will be documented in the Semi-Annual Resident Review report as part of the ACGME Core Competencies.
  • Research Day is an annual event where faculty and residents present their research accomplishments. This event coincides with the visit of the Dragstedt Visiting Professor.
  • In an effort to assist and prepare residents for this scholarly endeavor, a relevant curriculum will be introduced, learning objectives (over a 2 year period) include, but are not limited to the following:
    a. To appreciate the importance and definition of scholarly activity
    b. To list the steps required for IRB Approval
    c. To realize the ethical issues surrounding the conduct of research
    d. To be familiar with strategies in study design and methodology
    e. To apply statistical methods to research data
    f. To recognize the research resources in the public domain
    g. To prepare a peer-reviewed manuscript
    h. To demonstrate how to present data to a large group (academic meeting etc).

The idea for a scholarly project requirement in the residency program originated from the Educational Retreat held in the spring of 2004. The process that led to this document included input from residents, faculty, and educational staff. The requirement for a scholarly project has been approved by the department’s education committee and chairman.