Residents Research Monthly Elective

The Department of Medicine and the Residency Program Directors are very supportive of resident involvement in research endeavors. All residents are encouraged to consider some exposure to research activities as part of their education and training.


The residency program allows for a limited number of months to be dedicated to research activities. After the demand of clinical rotations is satisfied, a certain number of research month electives will be made available. The number of months available to each residency class as well as to each individual will be determined by the program directorship. Residents may apply for more than one month as a research elective but must justify that their project requires additional time and must also have demonstrated some productivity towards accomplishing their research goal.

If residents can demonstrate a well-conceived research plan or has already shown progress towards completing their project, they can request additional months at the time of application. Applicants must be aware that a request for a research month elective, particularly if more than one month is requested, may require surrendering other elective months (i.e., outpatient month, board review month, South Africa rotation, etc.)


The request for a research month elective must be submitted by the deadline noted on the application form in Microsoft Word format or Adobe PDF. Applications will be reviewed by a subcommittee composed of members of the Department's Research Council in addition to one of the residency program co-directors. All applications will be reviewed for completeness and merit. Those applicants with a well-defined research plan and evidence of mentor support will be given priority.


The Department of Medicine Research Council will maintain a database of faculty with a willingness or demonstrated ability to mentor residents, such that any resident seeking a mentor can review this database. Alternatively, if a mentor and/or a field of interest are already selected by the resident, the Research Council will serve as a point of contact to assist the resident in obtaining needed resources (i.e., basic science collaborators, assistance with statistical support, etc.). The Department is willing to assist the resident in any way possible, available resources permitting.


The nature of the research activity proposed by the resident can be of various types. The review committee as well as the residency leadership is looking for research projects that seek to answer a question/hypothesis or provide new or useful information to a field. This elective month cannot be used simply for writing a case report to enhance a fellowship application. The resident researcher should ideally be able to complete their project and reach conclusions that can then be presented in some forum, such as the ACP chapter or national meeting, a subspecialty meeting or publication in a journal.


Here are some suggestions for getting started in your research project:

Identify an area of interest. This could be a very specific question based on your clinical experience or perhaps seeking to confirm a hypothesis you may have developed.

Identify a faculty mentor with experience in that field and meet with that individual to discuss your project idea. Sometimes your idea has already been studied or the faculty member may suggest a different approach to the problem.

See the opportunities page for more information regarding research within the department.

Perform a thorough literature review. Make sure you become as familiar as possible with information pertinent to your project. This will greatly aid in designing your hypothesis and research plan.

Develop a research plan and review it with your mentor. Make sure your draft is closely scrutinized and critiqued. Ask your mentor if there are other faculty members willing to review it as well. Others may have different insights. Make sure your mentor has the time to commit to your project. Ideally, once you have been granted the elective, you can have your mentor block out time to make sure he/she is accessible during that month to meet with you and maximize your experience.

If you and your mentor determine that approval from the IRB is required to conduct your research, you should plan on having the IRB protocol submitted and approved prior to starting your research month.
Obtaining IRB approval will require that you be CITI-trained. Plan on becoming CITI-certified before submitting your IRB application.

Information on the IRB application process as well as the link for online CITI-training can be found at

Apply for your research month elective. Determine how much time you will need. Fill out the application form and obtain the supporting documentation.


If you have any additional questions or simply need some assistance, please feel free to contact: Dr. Debra Romberger, 402-943-5515. For questions regarding IRB issues, please contact Gail Paulsen, 402-559-3853.

Research Rotation Application Due Date
January 15, 2014