Clinical Investigator Track

Master of Science in Clinical Research

The Department of Medicine has a partnership with the Department of Public Health Sciences that allows one upper-level resident to obtain a department-subsidized Master of Science in Clinical Research degree by the end of their third year. Residents chosen for the Clinical Investigator (CI) Track begin classes during their PGY-2 year, while maintaining their continuity clinic responsibilities. Interested applicants must take the In-Service Training Exam as a PGY-1 and score in the 50th percentile to be eligible for application to this program.

Resident Testimonials

John Odackal, MDThe clinical investigator (CI) track has given me the skills, experience, and mentorship necessary to pursue academic medicine after residency. As part of the CI track, I studied epidemiology, statistics, and database management to obtain a Masters in Clinical Research. I applied these skills to design and execute several clinical research projects. These projects included an examination of a cell biomarker in interstitial lung disease, a study of self-reported symptom severity in chronic obstructive lung disease, and an analysis of factors leading to poor outcomes for patients in the MICU. Through the CI track, these research projects and my career development were supported by the entire Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine. For these reasons, I highly recommend UVA’s CI track to any prospective internal medicine candidate interested in research and academic medicine.

Anthony Peters, MDThe Clinical Investigator track is one of the many aspects of UVA’s program that drew me here. UVA’s internal medicine program does an incredible job of encouraging and enabling residents to pursue their particular interests within the field of medicine, and the CI track is prime example of this priority. For me, I was excited to learn how to design and execute clinical research as a resident alongside my clinical training. The CI track is highly unique in facilitating this process at the resident level. The track provides protected time to complete a Masters-level curriculum in clinical research with courses including epidemiology, database design, bio-statistics, grant writing, healthcare economics, and clinical trial design, among others. This training is interwoven into the clinical responsibilities of second year residency and has been critical in my development of research projects throughout residency. Through this curriculum and the dedicated mentorship of attendings, the CI track has enabled me to lead projects from inception to statistical analysis to manuscript composition. I’m certainly grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this track within such a supportive program environment! Moving forward, I am excited to utilize these skills as I aim to build a career in academic medicine, blending clinical and research endeavors.

Andrew Barros, MDThe Clinical Investigator Track provided me an opportunity to do research with faculty while pursuing a graduate degree and continuing my clinical training. The education I received in statistics, epidemiology, study design, and health policy has been essential in preparing me for a career in academic medicine. Only a small number of internal medicine programs have an option similar to our clinical investigator track and I think it highlights another way that the UVA Internal Medicine program is a great place to train and learn. The skills I have learned from the CI track have enabled me to work on a variety of research and quality improvement projects. I plan to use these experiences to build a career in academic medicine.

Nitin Ahuja, MDThe Clinical Investigator Track was a major component of my attraction to the medicine residency program at UVA, alongside the quality of its training and the collegiality of its members. The opportunity to undertake graduate-level education in statistical analysis and study design, without associated sacrifices in time or clinical exposure, was unique among the programs I encountered on the interview trail. The seamlessness with which this coursework has been woven into the standard training experience is amazing, and it highlights our administration’s dedication to residents’ success on an individual level. Looking forward to fellowship, I am grateful for the literacy in research methods I’ve gained through the CI track, and I feel extraordinarily well-served by UVA in my pursuit of a career in academic medicine.

Additional Opportunities

There are also opportunities to pursue a graduate program in the Department of Public Health Sciences outside the confines of the residency program.

  • The Master of Public Health (MPH) at UVA is an interdisciplinary professional degree designed to provide health care and other professionals with an understanding of the public health sciences, knowledge and skills that can be used in health care management, population-based research, and the community practice of public health. Each student identifies a concentration and develops an individualized course of study with an advisor who addresses the student’s professional interests, needs, and goals. Graduates are generally prepared for roles in a variety of public and regulatory agencies, in for-profit and not-for-profit health agencies, and in health services research. Tracks within the MPH program include: Health Policy, Law, and Ethics; and Research in Practice.
  • The Master of Science in Clinical Research is an interdisciplinary graduate degree designed to meet the changing needs of the current health care field, particularly the increasing need for trained professionals with well-developed quantitative and analytic skills. Graduates are equipped to tackle broad questions of health care organization and financing to specific instances of how to maximize medical benefit while controlling medical costs. There is a broad range of training opportunities for students interested in these new areas of clinical investigation, clinical information management, medical economics, and health services research. The interdisciplinary blend of biostatistics, epidemiology, health services research methodology, clinical trial design, economics, information studies, and health policy is taught by faculty in the Department of Public Health Sciences in collaboration with other faculty in the UVA Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Arts and Sciences, Business, and Law. The experience is one of intensive study aimed toward giving students the analytical skills needed in all areas of clinical research.

For further information, please write, call or e-mail:

Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH
Department of Public Health Sciences
PO Box 400800
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4800
Office: 434-924-3487

Tracey L. Brookman, BS
Department of Public Health Sciences
PO Box 800717
University of Virginia
Office: 434-924-8646
Fax: 434-924-8437