Resident Research Elective


Participation in research during residency training can provide valuable experience regardless of ultimate career goals. The Department of Pediatrics offers a Research Elective to provide protected time for participation in a research project, as well as support in all phases of conception and implementation of projects.

Course Description

Pediatric residents may receive elective credit for up to 8 weeks of research time, which need not be contiguous, during their PL2 and PL3 years. This may be augmented with an additional one-month rotation in a subspecialty rotation related to their area of research. It is anticipated that most research projects will take place over the course of several months to two years, with protected elective time allocated for periods of intensive work such as background literature reviews, data collection, or data analysis.

All activities will be supervised by the Director of Resident Research (Dr. Martha Hellems), the Residency Director (Dr. Linda Waggoner-Fountain), and the resident’s research mentor.

Goals and Objectives

The goal of the resident research program is for the resident physician to gain a greater understanding of the scientific method and the acquisition of new knowledge through a mentored research experience. The resident will demonstrate ACGME competencies in medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, and professionalism.

Specific learning objectives for the research project

Associated Competencies
To learn to develop a research question.

Medical knowledge
Practice-based learning

To learn to access, appraise, and assimilate the current medical literature pertaining to the research topic.
Practice-based learning

To gain an understanding of the scientific method by designing and writing a research protocol.Practice-based learning

To learn about research ethics, informed consent, and the regulatory approvals process by completing HIPPA compliance training and by obtaining necessary approval for the conduct of the proposed research project.Professionalism
Systems-based practice
To conduct the research, and to acquire any skills necessary to do so such as laboratory techniques and computer skillsPractice-based learning

To learn basic biostatistics and data analysis as appropriate to the projectPractice-based learning

To demonstrate communication skills by presenting research results to medical colleagues at the UVa Children’s Hospital Research Day. Residents will be further encouraged to present at national meetings and to write papers for publication in medical journals
Interpersonal and communication skills

Elective Requirements

To receive elective credit for research, the resident must complete the following minimum requirements:

  • Identify a faculty research mentor and proposed project.
  • Submit a brief (1-2 page) summary of a proposed research project and a research plan with study design and timeline, to be approved by Dr. Hellems and the research mentor.
  • Complete the Protection of Human Subject Research on-line research training module.
  • Obtain regulatory approval for the project, as appropriate. In most cases this will include writing and submitting a protocol to the IRB.
  • Present findings at the annual UVA Children’s Hospital Research Symposium.
  • Submit a final product to the resident research office.  This may be an abstract, a poster presentation, the draft of a paper, or a publication.

Additional Information

Note that use of the term “research” may be interpreted broadly to encompass a range of scholarly pursuits. Dr. Hellems is available to help residents identify potential research mentors and scholarly projects. Residents have access through the Pediatric Department and the medical center to many resources ranging from grant-writing support, computer classes, seminars on clinical investigation, and statistics help.

The requirements listed above are only minimal requirements. It is hoped that participating residents will also take advantage of the research elective opportunity to develop new skills, present at national meetings, and write up the results of their research for journal publication.

For further information, please contact Dr. Martha Hellems.