We consider resident research and scholarly activity to be a particular strength of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at MMC. Participation in research, quality improvement, and case presentations at regional and national meetings all provide a critical dimension to physician training, above and beyond patient care experiences. These activities also inform patient care for the future, as residents transition to roles as practicing physicians in a variety of clinical settings. Many of our residents complete more than one project during their three years with us.
Our program supports resident scholarly work in a variety of ways. Kathleen Fairfield, MD, DrPH, Associate Chief of Medicine for Research and Quality Improvement, is a general internist and epidemiologist who has served as Director of Research and Scholarly Activity for the residency program since 2002. She works with residents in a variety of settings, including serving as a clinical preceptor in the Internal Medicine Clinic, leading the Evidence-Based Medicine conference series, and meeting individually with each resident about their scholarly projects. Dr. Fairfield helps residents identify a mentor, refine research questions, perform power calculations, navigate IRB requirements, develop intramural research proposals, gather and analyze data, and prepare abstracts, posters, scientific presentations, and manuscripts from their work.
MMC supports trainee research in a variety of ways. A didactic course, Introduction to Clinical and Translational Research, is offered each fall and spring for residents and fellows across the Medical Center. This course is free to residents and fellows. The Medical Center allocates over $50,000 per year for trainee research grants, which is administered by the Mentored Research Committee (MRC). On average, 2-4 internal medicine residents hold active grants from this funding source during any given academic year. These grants support data collection, laboratory materials, poster development, and travel to a national or international research meeting to present findings. The Department of Medicine and its specialty Divisions include a variety of clinician-researchers who have successfully mentored resident projects year after year. This mentorship enriches the residency experience with research and is a testament to the dedication of the faculty. Lastly, MMC hosts an annual Research Forum for residents and fellows from around the institution to showcase their research during oral and poster sessions.
In addition to the resources above, MMC's research arm, Maine Medical Center Research Institute provides numerous opportunities for resident research in clinical epidemiology and basic and translational research. MMCRI includes 4 centers: The Center for Molecular Medicine, the Center for Translational Research, the Center for Psychiatric Research, and the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE). CORE includes established clinical researchers from a variety of fields who have mentored residents in the past. Specific areas of expertise include shared decision making and health services research using data from Medicare and SEER-Medicare in areas ranging from women's health to cardiovascular procedures and outcomes, trauma, and variation in cancer treatment. In addition, many residents participate in research through the Vector-borne Disease Laboratory, which is dedicated to the study of tick-borne diseases.