Research Opportunities And Performance
If there is one word that captures the Tulane Team it is “exponential.” This is a team of world-changers… whether it be through our clinical mission statement, our teaching excellence or our research prowess… Tulane changes the world. And one of our primary strategies for being exponential is research.
Learning the Techniques
There are four cardinal features for great research during residency. Opportunity, Time, Mentorship and Support. At Tulane, you’ll find all four…
Research is not required at Tulane… as requiring “intellectual curiosity” seems counter-intuitive. But for those who have an interest, or think they might have an interest, the opportunities for research abound. With some of the leaders in general internal medicine, medical education, women’s health, cultural competency and all nine of the subspecialties, virtually any topic of interest can be researched at Tulane. In addition to the nine fully-accredited and fully-functional subspecialty sections, Tulane offers the added benefits of The Tulane Cancer Center, The Tulane Abdominal Transplant Institute, The Tulane Primate Center, The Hayward Genetics Center, The Center for Bioenvironmental Research, and over 15 other centers for research excellence. And with the undergraduate campus in town, residents can also take advantage of the research and courses offered at the Tulane undergraduate campus. As one of the largest NIH recipients in the south, there is no question that you will have the opportunity to pursue a research project of your choosing. In the past five years, Tulane’s NIH-supported research has grown over 30%, one of the fastest growing research institutions in the country. The CAS training series will teach you the fundamentals of research right up to how to write a grant. Indeed, one third of our intern class will use one of their three to four elective months to start their research project. And then there is the world-renowned Tulane School of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. With research projects occurring around the globe, this is a unique opportunity to be involved in international research. The Tulane faculty is also engaged in health services research, outcomes-based research, clinical effectiveness and quality (our hospitalists research) and educational research. If you have the interest, Tulane will take you there.
Anyone who knows research knows that it is an endeavor that you cannot do without having some time to devote. The flexibility of the Tulane schedules, including opportunities for elective months in the intern year, enables residents to devote the necessary time to get a project off the ground.
The Tulane faculty are here to advance your research career. Nowhere will you find the accessibility and collegiality of the Tulane Faculty. The mentorship program at Tulane is built upon the principle that you will need multiple mentors to be successful in all facets of your life…. A clinical mentor, a personal mentor, an educational mentor, and a research mentor. To facilitate this, each firm has both their “assistant coaches” (the Associate Program Directors and Chief Resident), but also a “concierge mentor.”
Perhaps you’ve checked into a hotel in a distant city… you’re hungry, and you want to find a great restaurant in this new city. What do you do? Well of course… you walk down to the hotel lobby, and you talk to the concierge. Now, he’s not going to cook your meal for you, but he has a list of great restaurants where someone will. If one restaurant has no reservations available, he finds you another one. Such is the mentorship plan at Tulane.
In addition to each firm’s chief resident and assistant coach, each firm has its own Concierge Mentor. The role of the concierge mentor is not to provide you mentorship (i.e., she won’t be cooking your food), but she will find you the person who will. You’ll meet with your concierge mentor, tell her your needs (professional or otherwise), and her job is to “hook you up” with the person who can be your mentor. She’ll give you the names and contact information for the faculty member who suits your research/career/life interests, and will facilitate the first meeting. Then you meet with your mentor, and start the research/career/life improvement!
But what if your career interests change, or worst yet…. What if the chemistry isn’t there? This last consideration is very important. In the worst of training programs, there is no strategy for mentorship. In the B minus programs, there is assigned mentorship. But the reality is that mentorship, like all personal relationships, is much more than that the “Match-dot-com” approach of pairing up like interests. The mentorship relationship is about chemistry, and if the chemistry isn’t there, the relationship will not be fruitful.
The Tulane Concierge Mentor approach solves this problem. Once your concierge mentor has assigned you to a faculty, you meet with that faculty. If the chemistry isn’t there (or if your interests change), you simply return to your concierge mentor and say, “Hey, I need a new restaurant (that is, mentor).. that one wasn’t good.” No problem…. She then assigns you to a new mentor. And the process repeats until you find what you need.
And now for some unsolicited advice (as your coach)…. You need more than one mentor. Your career mentor might be different than your research mentor. And independent of your career/research, you may want to have a mentor to help you with unique issues to your life…. Examples might include being a physician with kids, being a woman in medicine, being a minority in medicine, having an alternative lifestyle in medicine, etc. These are not negligible concerns, and the Tulane Team takes this seriously in coaching you through life. By having a concierge mentor, all it takes is a simple question, “Hey, I would like to have a mentor to help me with being a woman in medicine. Who would you suggest?”
No program offers the one-to-one mentorship like Tulane…. It is one of the many reasons that Tulane has the most national resident presentations in the country, the reason the residents do so well in the fellowship match, and the reason our graduates are so happy…. And why they go on to accomplishing great things in life.
In addition to time, opportunity, and mentorship, you’ll need the program’s support to ensure that your research contributions do not fall on deaf ears. The program’s promise is simply this… if you get an abstract accepted at a national meeting, the program will print your poster for your… pay for the registration, the airfare and the hotel… to ensure that you can be at that national meeting to make your presentation!
Lest you think this is just about getting another CV line… it’s not. Medicine is a very small world, and the more people you know (i.e., the more you develop your network), the more opportunities will come your way as your career progresses. Dr. Wiese, your assistant coaches and other faculty can certainly network you at these national meetings, introducing you to the people you want to know to advance your careers… but we can’t do that if you are sitting on your couch at home. Hence, the program has made the commitment to get you “in the game” by supporting your travel to the national meetings.
Want proof? Check out our publications….Over the past five years, The Tulane Residency has had over 350 regional and national presentations by residents. Last year, 32 residents made the trip to the national SGIM meeting, 27 residents to the national Society for Hospital Medicine meeting, and another 22 to national subspecialty conferences. All made possible by the opportunities to do research at Tulane, and the program’s commitment to paying the way to the national meeting if you are accepted for publication. If you are looking for a great academic career, or a great fellowship, this is the key: you have to be well trained, you have to have teaching skills, and you have to have shown that you can occupy a place in the scientific conversation (i.e., research). Research is the key, and with the strong research opportunities and mentorship at Tulane, this can be yours.
Tulane Residents at the National SGIM Conference in Toronto