Scholarly Activities

Research is a key mission of the Department of Medicine. Our faculty investigators are known for results with high impact on improving health outcomes.

Similarly, the Duke Internal Medicine Residency Program promotes and nurtures resident research and productivity to:

  • Train the next generation of clinical investigators and physician-scientists
  • Promote intellectual and academic curiosity
  • Support academic fellowship and job applications
  • Lay the foundation for successful careers in academic medicine.

Scholarly activities

All Duke Internal Medicine residents are required to carry out scholarly activities. There are diverse opportunities, including case studies, literature reviews, teaching conferences, quality improvement projects, as well as research projects.  Residents are strongly encouraged to directly become involved in mentored research and other scholarly pursuits, including patient-oriented research, basic laboratory-based investigation, as well as translational research projects.

Research curriculum

Research opportunities are available for all residents, including residents with a prior track record of research experience (eg. MD, PhD residents), as well as those residents who do not have prior research experience but who desire research training and experience during residency training. Learn more.

Research Pathways

The ABIM-approved Physician-Scientist Training Program is designed for individuals who have experience in biomedical research, are interested in research development, and wish to develop fundamental skills and expertise to conduct rigorous and original clinical investigation. Beginning in 2018, the Department of Medicine also offers the Duke R38 Research Pathway for residents committed to a career as a physician investigator. This NIH-funded, ABIM-approved opportunity includes a 4-year Internal Medicine residency that incorporates 18-months of protected time for research sponsored by an R38 Stimulating Access to Research in Residency (StARR) grant.

The Robert J. Lefkowitz Society

The Robert J. Lefkowitz Society provides a home for MD and MD/PhD post-graduate trainees who are in the Duke University Department of Medicine Internal Medicine Residency and Fellowship programs and are pursuing careers with a primary focus on basic and translational research as physician-investigators. Learn more.

Advising and mentoring

Grand Rounds

Every Duke Internal Medicine resident is assigned a faculty advisor who meets regularly with the resident to discuss clinical performance, academic opportunities and career interests.  Early in your training, your specific background and research interests as well as your career aspirations are identified.  Potential research mentors are suggested and contacted so that you can begin to identify your mentor(s), schedule meetings and formulate research projects. Learn more.

Residents who would like to pursue patient-oriented clinical investigation and research projects are encouraged to apply for a four-week course that is offered during the PGY-2 year. The structured curriculum of the Comprehensive Introduction to Clinical Research (ClinEpi) course provides training in basic methodology of clinical research and study design, including clinical research methods in epidemiology, biostatistics, and data base management.

Trainees who are interested in systems-oriented research are encouraged to apply for the Learning Health Systems Training Program (LHSTP), a year-long program designed to teach practical applications of data science. All participants undertake a mentored systems-level project as part of the curriculum. The program culminates in a presentation to Health System leadership.

Learn about other resources available to support your research career.

Research funding

To facilitate the implementation of resident research projects, funding support is also available for selected research projects.  Additionally, protected time in the form of research electives are granted to selected residents who have formulated a research project and plan.

The Department was able to fund these projects in part through faculty donations. The largest donations to date have come annually since 2011 from Faculty Connection, LLC, a consulting group made up of Department faculty members Daniel Benjamin, MD, PhD, MPH; Robert Califf, MD; Robert Harrington, MD; Christopher O'Connor, MD; Kevin Schulman, MD, MBA; and Kenneth W. Lyles, MD.

The Faculty Resident Research Grants consist of $2,000 awards per research proposal, part of which may be utilized for travel to scientific meetings to present research results. The request for applications (RFA) is announced in November and the grant applications are due by April of each academic year. Funding is available as of July 1 of the next academic year after a grant review process and selection of the proposals for funding by a faculty committee. Similarly, Stead Foundation Resident Research grant applications are open during the summer of each academic year, allowing a second opportunity for residents to apply for funding.

Travel funds are also available to residents presenting their case studies or research findings at professional or scientific society meetings, even if those residents do not receive Faculty Resident Research Grants or Stead Resident Research Grants.

In October 2021, a total of 13 Stead Research Grants were awarded, and in May 2022 a total of 31 resident research projects were approved for funding by Program Leadership and the Department of Medicine. Learn more.

For more information about research funding opportunities, please contact Dr. Nia S. Mitchell

Research events and awards

All residents are encouraged to submit their research findings for presentation at local or national professional and scientific society meetings, such as the annual meeting of the American College of Physicians or scientific society meetings of subspecialties of Internal Medicine.

Residents present their research projects during the Resident Research Grand Rounds in late spring of each academic year. Project abstracts are reviewed by faculty who select the winners of the Califf Medicine Resident Research Awards, which promote and celebrate resident research. Additionally, top posters for resident research and quality improvement projects are recognized at the conclusion of poster sessions and oral research presentations. Learn more.