All division members are actively involved in clinical or
laboratory research. Research opportunities are not restricted to
the Division of Neonatology and the fellows are encouraged to
explore avenues of research with any faculty member in the
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Medical Center, or at the
National Institutes of Health. Clinical research may be carried
out in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which receives about 400
admissions per year, or in the high risk follow up clinic where
about 600 patients return for follow up each year. The laboratory
facilities include 400 square feet of dry and wet laboratory
space. A large simulation laboratory is under development.
A Scholarship Oversight Committee, (comprised of the research
mentor and two or more individuals, at least one of whom is
outside the subspecialty discipline of Neonatology) is appointed
in the first year to monitor the Fellows progress. The research
mentor guides the Fellow in developing the research hypotheses,
to design the study and develop the protocol. Four to five months
of research time are provided in the first year of training to
allow the residents initiate the process of protocol development
and allow sufficient time for the various approval processes
(Institutional Review Board or Animal Care and Use Committee) to
take place so that data collection may start in a timely fashion.
The division has a research nurse available to assist in
clinical research. Fellows receive assistance with data analysis
and manuscript preparation by the senior author/faculty member.
There is a formal research methodology course which emphasizes
study design, formulating the right question, data collection and
analysis, as well as data presentation. Additional teaching of
Research methodology occurs as part of Journal Club discussions,
where each fellow critiques a published paper on the basis of
validity of the research, the study design, methodology, and
appropriateness of conclusions.
There is also a monthly
conference where proposed research protocols by fellows and/or
faculty are presented and discussed in detail with constructive
critique provided by faculty and subspecialty residents. Material
learned in the didactic course is put to practical use and
reinforced during design and implementation of each resident's
specific research project under the close supervision of the
research mentor. Fellows are encouraged to present their work at
national and international meetings.