Research Curriculum

Comprehensive Introduction to Clinical Research

The structured research curriculum offers training for residents in methodology of clinical research and study design. Residents who would like to pursue patient-oriented clinical investigation and research projects are encouraged to apply for this four-week course offered during the PGY-2 year. 

The Comprehensive Introduction to Clinical Research (CICR) course trains residents in the basic methodology of clinical research and study design, including clinical research methods in epidemiology, biostatistics, and database management. The course is designed for junior residents who are interested in pursuing a clinical research career and do not have previous research methods training or experience through a graduate degree (such as PhD or MPH). This course is directed by C. Barrett Bowling, MD, MSPH, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatrics and Juliessa Pavon, MD.

CICR instructors teach residents about the process of clinical research. Residents also learn about basic biostatistics, including database establishment, descriptive statistics, graphical display of data, simple hypothesis testing, categorical data analysis, sample-size estimation, and introductory regression analysis. Faculty from a variety of disciplines teach afternoon sessions devoted to clinical epidemiology research methods.

Course participants learn to critically appraise the literature when reading cohort, case-control, randomized controlled, or cross-over trials. Instruction in advanced computer-based literature search, preparation of a research proposal budget, legal and ethical issues in clinical research, and scientific writing instruction supplements this training. During the CICR course, each trainee must design a clinical research project to be reviewed by the CICR faculty. Many trainees use their project as the basis for subsequent patient-oriented research with a research mentor.

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.

Research conferences

In May of each academic year, residents present their research projects during Resident Research Day. Faculty and residents review and discuss their research findings in a stimulating environment during poster sessions and oral presentations, followed by the presentation of the annual research prizes for residents, the Califf Medicine Resident Research Awards.