A major emphasis of the fellowship is the development of a clinical research program by the fellow. The fellow spends one day a week devoted entirely to research activities. The goal is to gain experience in clinical research methods and exposure to the research literature in minimally invasive surgery.
During the first month of the fellowship, the fellow meets each Friday with Dr. Eagon to discuss research in minimally invasive surgery. Selected readings are assigned to help the fellow develop a set of potential research questions that he or she might be able to address within the year. The interests of the fellow are used as a starting point for the development of a significant clinical research question that can be addressed with the resources available at Washington University. At the end of the first month, the fellow will have generated at least one research question and written a protocol for its completion. It is anticipated that during the course of the year, several other clinical research topics will arise and that the fellow will pursue these in a similar manner.
Fridays are a day primarily devoted to research. A minimally invasive research meeting is held each Friday from 7:30-8:30 a.m. During this time, research topics from the fellow as well as from the research fellow in the Institute’s lab and the various attendings are discussed, and weekly progress in these areas is noted. There are no clinical duties assigned on Friday morning, and the afternoon clinic is secondary to research endeavors if they conflict.
In addition to learning general research methods and understanding the literature, a critical goal is for the fellow to contribute to the surgical literature. It is expected that during the course of the year, the fellow will generate at least two papers submitted to peer-reviewed journals and four to six abstracts from original clinical research activities. At least one of the papers will be on the major research topic selected in the first month, but other scholarly works are encouraged including review articles, invited book chapters and case reports.
The specific topics selected for research will vary with the interests of the fellow, but will be influenced by the extensive resources available at Washington University. These include large patient databases in bariatric surgery and foregut surgery. Prospective clinical trials will be facilitated by the resources available through the Washington University Weight Management Center, the Gastrointestinal Diagnostic Center, the General Clinical Research Center and the Center for Clinical Studies. Those fellows with time and interest also may participate in basic science and surgical pathophysiology research projects through the lab of the Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery. As a major medical school, Washington University has a large number of other resources that may be utilized by the fellow including the Becker Medical Library, the Center for Clinical Nutrition and the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology.