Research and Scholarly Activity

Scholarly work and research are foundational to the advancement of the profession of medicine and inspiration gained through inquiry is a hallmark of the discipline of family medicine. Therefore, it is the desire of Meritus Family Medicine Residency Program to cultivate an atmosphere and culture that is supportive of resident scholarly work. Simultaneously, research that is uninspiring or lacks a personal connection can be demotivating or outright onerous. Therefore, Meritus seeks to promote residents to identify scholarly activities that align with their passions, create joy through inquiry, and/or provide improvement in patient care. Faculty will work alongside residents to individualize a research and scholarly activity portfolio that will a) fulfill ACGME requirements, b) provide professional growth, c) develop the skills of a family physician and d) inspire meaning in practice.

Efforts in scholarly work and research will advance the resident as he/she progresses along the family medicine milestones, with particular emphasis on Patient Care (PC3) and Practice Based Learning and Improvement (PBLI 1 and PBLI 2).

The importance of targeted scholarly work will be engaged immediately within the orientation process. At orientation, PGY1 residents are taught skill in the critical analysis of medical literature. Residents are encouraged to read every medical article and to ask the questions: “Do I agree or disagree, and why?” and “How does this impact my practice or patients?” Following, residents will be required to submit a letter to the editor at some point within their PGY1 year, as an early launching point for scholarly activity. Faculty will be instrumental in guiding these activities.

As scholarly activity does include presentation and publication, residents are required to demonstrate such productivity prior to graduation. At a minimum, each resident must present one formal case presentation, lead one quality improvement review didactic, and one clinical didactic lecture during each clinical year. Residents are encouraged to present on a more frequent basis if they wish, or if they have interesting clinical reviews to share. Appropriate goals and objectives must be stated and achieved as a result of such presentations.

Residents must be active in community health or engaged with underserved populations or groups. The community and population health curriculum is individualized, under the guidance of each advisor, to seek to align with resident passion and goals for future practice. It is encouraged that residents consider concurrent opportunities for publication or presentation based around their work in the community. However, this will not always be possible, and the outcomes of community work should aim to center on service and learning. Each resident is required to present or publish outside of the health care system, and this may include formal literature publication, case report, oral or poster presentation, abstract, letter to the editor, or other contribution as approved by the Program Director. Residents are encouraged to submit their projects to regional, state and national conferences that allow original Family Medicine resident research, and faculty advisors will help guide and support these efforts. Any research involving human subject requires Meritus Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.

Residents are educated in research study and design and basic statistics as part of our evidence-based medicine curriculum. Meaningful contribution to regular journal club activities provides the framework for understanding types of studies conducted, statistical analysis, and impact on practice. PGY2 and PGY3 residents are responsible for choosing an article from a respected medical journal, reviewing the article under the guidance of the faculty lead for scholarly activity, and facilitating a journal club session with the remainder of the residents. These journal club sessions occur monthly.

Ultimately, residents are encouraged to view research and scholarly activity as a longitudinal and ongoing process, rather than an episodic box to check. Fundamental practice improvement, self improvement, and/or advancement of clinical care should always be considered. Faculty will work alongside residents as both mentors and collaborators. Where applicable, residents are encouraged to truly think outside of the box, to work together, and to consider multiple avenues for advancement of scholarly work.

Citizenship and Commitment to the Community

A fundamental component of family medicine training at Meritus health is to develop family physician leaders that have influence within their communities and systems. Residents are tasked with identifying community groups or organizations that they find connection or need, and to commit to working with these groups. The intent of this commitment is to give the resident the time and space to gain leadership and give back to the community – both core to the heart of primary care. Therefore, as a requirement for graduation, residents must demonstrate involvement in community or health system groups. They are required to take on a leadership role, such as service on a local committee, board, or staff. Residents must discuss these positions and have them approved by their advisor and the Program Director. Following, the residency program will endeavor to provide protected and structured time to participate, attend meetings, and grow in this leadership.

It is the faculty’s intent to leave this requirement as open as possible, so that residents may seek unique or individualized opportunities. Such leadership could take the form of joining a task force for the Healthy Washington County initiative, the Board of the local YMCA, or even on an advisory panel for a local public servant. Likewise, residents are encouraged to consider participation in Meritus Medical Staff Committees, and they may request to serve on any of the following:

  • Advanced Practice Provider Committee
  • Credentials Committee
  • Bylaws Committee
  • Cancer Committee
  • Breast Cancer Sub-Committee
  • Wellness Committee
  • HIM/HER Committee
  • Library and Medical Education
  • Trauma Committee
  • Critical Care
  • Infection Control
  • Pharmacy and Therapeutics
  • Quality Forum
  • Radiation Safety
  • Utilization Review
  • SSMC
  • Patient Safety/Regulatory Committee
  • Business Integrity
  • EMR

Residents are encouraged to have some sense of autonomy and to demonstrate leadership in their decisions. They may request protected time, and this will be supported as best as possible within the structure of other learning and service commitments for a given rotation. While residents are encouraged to seek leadership as early as possible in their PGY-1 year, to allow for growth and continuity, they must, at a minimum, have chosen at least one role by the end of their PGY-1 year, and have this approved by their advisor and the Program Director.