Academic Enhancement Track

University of Virginia Academic Enhancement Track

The University of Virginia (UVA) has a long and distinguished history of training academic urologists. Over the past 15 years, nearly 70% of our graduating residents completed a fellowship or attained positions at teaching hospitals. Most urology programs have abandoned a research rotation due to changing financial conditions, professional attitudes, and incorporation of research into fellowship training programs. In addition, many fellows and junior faculty pursue additional classroom training during or after fellowships to better prepare for a successful academic career. To accommodate trainees wishing to pursue an academic career and gain leadership skills, we have developed a novel advanced track during residency. Our standard track consists of a year of pre-urology and four years of urologic training for a total of five years.  In 2012 we initiated a second track, entitled Academic Enhanced Track (AET).  We match one candidate for each of the two tracks.

The AET track is a one year advanced clinical training program embedded between the R-2 and R-3 years of our standard five year residency.  Current urologic residencies provide basic exposure to research methodology, principles of evidence-based medicine, and literature review, with rudimentary exposure to scientific method, health policy and statistics. As a consequence, today’s residents may lack skills crucial for evolution into independent researchers or leaders. After residency, many fellowships offer their trainees the opportunity to pursue dual degrees such as an MBA, MPH or MS. We believe such training is best initiated earlier in the education trajectory and fellowships should focus on specialty training.

The program is flexible to meet personal goals, which may include bench research, translational research, or outcomes studies. The core of the academic coursework is a 32 credit curriculum with classes in Statistics, Epidemiology, and Public Health Policy resulting in a Master’s of Science in Clinical Research (M.S.C.R.) degree through the School of Public Health. In addition to the standard courses offered, students are free to supplement their coursework with classes at UVA’s Law, Business, Education, and Leadership schools.  It is expected that the resident will complete several research projects during this year. Though residents in our standard track 5 year program have ample research opportunities and may go on to academic careers, we are confident graduates of our 6-year AET program will transform urology as the academic leaders of tomorrow.