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Research Opportunities in the MWU/OPTI


Research Objectives

The MWU/OPTI provides clinical training programs for interns and residents that integrate the science and art of the practice of medicine. One of the most important elements of this training is instilling an understanding of the scientific method and its role in improving the body of knowledge related to disease processes, which underscores the overarching need to promote and rely on evidence-based medicine in contemporary medical practice.

The DME at each affiliated training site monitors the clinical education program to ensure that didactic instruction emphasizes the importance of scientific method and biomedical research. Although the specialty colleges have unique educational objectives for each clinical specialty, many research-related educational objectives are common to all clinical specialties.

Midwestern University/OPTI supports numerous research-related educational objectives including:

Research Assistance

The Midwestern University Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP) will provide research assistance and resources to clinical faculty educating trainees for meeting specialty college requirements, including:

Future plans include training sessions for clinical researchers to provide trainees with numerous examples and resources to be held on both the University's campuses and include topics such as the following:

Access to Basic Sciences and Clinical Research Mentorship

The MWU/OPTI Program Directors serve as the assigned mentors for all trainee research projects. In addition, institutional Directors of Medical Education may identify clinical faculty members who may serve as mentors for trainees completing their specialty college research requirements.

Trainees participating in the MWU/OPTI may receive assistance from:

Program Directors
Program Directors are assigned overarching mentorship responsibility for all trainee research activities.

Directors of Medical Education
MWU/OPTI's institutional DMEs assist as needed to identify specific clinicians to serve one-on-one as mentors for trainees completing specialty college research requirements and to facilitate collaboration.

Office of Research & Sponsored Programs
Midwestern University's ORSP helps trainees identify basic sciences and clinical faculty members to serve as research mentors. Selected members of the basic sciences and clinical faculty identified by the DMEs and ORSP staff members are available as needed to provide in-depth support for studies that require complex designs, IRB review, informed consents that meet HIPAA standards, and statistical analysis of data.

Regional OGMEC offices
Trainees may contact their regional OGMEC Chair for easily accessed assistance in identifying appropriate mentorship.

The Office of Research & Sponsored Programs provides administrative mentorship to the MWU/OPTI in proposal development, identification of extramural sponsorship, and institutional clearance to ensure compliance with sponsorship and institutional requirements.

Academic Support

The Midwestern University Office of Research & Sponsored Programs provides research assistance and resources to the MWU/OPTI clinical faculty educating trainees to meet specialty college requirements. Such assistance shall primarily include:

The Office of Research & Sponsored Programs is enhancing its resources to offer assistance to clinical faculty educating trainees. To meet these initiatives, the office added a Manager of Clinical Research and a Manager of Bio/Clinical Statistics.

Training sessions on clinical research will be developed and held regularly on the Downers Grove and Glendale Campuses of Midwestern University. Attendance is recorded, and copies of presentation materials are made available by the program.

Funding for Research Efforts

The MWU/OPTI provides research and scholarly activity support services to trainees in MWU/OPTI training programs through its Office of Research & Sponsored Programs. Offices established in both campus regions develop initiatives to ensure support for all basic biomedical and clinical research conducted under the auspices of Midwestern University and the Midwestern University/OPTI.

  1. "Mini" grants, usually up to a maximum of $2,000, to trainees and their faculty mentors (when appropriate) offset the cost of supplies and laboratory support services for some projects that could not otherwise be undertaken (Clinical Research Intramural Grant Program).
  2. Research funding is facilitated and expanded by identifying internal and external funding sources, assisting in proposal development, reviewing and endorsing proposals, negotiating agreements, and interpreting the guidelines of and promoting compliance with external funding agencies and University policies.
  3. Budgets include specific support for MWU/OPTI research; fiscal resources are provided directly as needed to trainees and their faculty mentors in support of their research projects to defray the cost of supplies, to hire statistical consultants, to cover poster costs, or to fund other research-related costs.

Recognition of Research Activities

The Midwestern University/OPTI ensures specifically that the scholarly activities and research of trainees are supported and recognized.

  1. The Chairs of the regional Osteopathic Graduate Medical Education Committees send congratulatory letters to trainees who have presented cases at national research meetings.
  2. Participating Partner Site Visit Reports will be forwarded to the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP) to ensure that research accomplishments are noted in the ORSP monthly eNewsletter.
  3. The ORSP monthly eNewsletter will be distributed to the MWU/OPTI academic community and its trainees.
  4. All MWU/OPTI research and scholarly activities are formally recognized at Midwestern University's annual Dr. Kenneth A. Suarez Research Day held in the spring on each campus.
  5. An MWU/OPTI Research & Scholarly Activity Report is published and distributed to the MWU/OPTI academic community.

Annual Dr. Kenneth A. Suarez Research Day

The MWU/OPTI recognizes that all research accomplished within the MWU/OPTI should be presented at Midwestern University's annual Dr. Kenneth A Suarez Research Day, held in the spring on each campus, to best emphasize and promote research collaborations between the basic sciences and clinicians. Announcements and program information about Research Day festivities will be made available to all trainees, and participation from MWU/OPTI trainees will be encouraged.

Research Day abstracts are compiled into a booklet for in-house distribution, and the booklet is not published in any symposium proceedings to allow legitimate submission of research posters to national venues and ensure that the same data would not be published twice.

Specialty College Research Requirements

Through cooperative efforts with the specialty colleges, the DMEs at training sites have established additional research-related educational objectives for each clinical specialty. With increases in research requirements instituted by many specialty colleges, residents in the MWU/OPTI are advancing their research skills from performing in-depth case studies or retrospective/prospective chart reviews to conducting original research studies to satisfy their residency requirements.

The following residency programs currently require completion of a research component prior to completion of the training program:

Cardiology
Critical Care Medicine
Diagnostic Radiology
Dermatology
Emergency Medicine
Family Practice and Manipulative Treatment
Gastroenterology
General Surgery
Hematology/Oncology
Internal Medicine
Interventional Cardiology
Neurological Surgery

Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine Plus One
Obstetrics and Gynecology

Orthopedic Surgery
Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine 
 
Rheumatology
Urological Surgery

Research and Scholarly Activity Policies

The MWU/OPTI research policies ensure that trainees and member institutions have established documented policies and guidelines for scientific research in accordance with local, state, and Federal guidelines. The Directors of Medical Education, Program Directors, and the regional Osteopathic Graduate Medical Education Committees are all charged with monitoring compliance with the stated MWU/OPTI research policies.

MWU/OPTI Basic Sciences or Clinical Research Mentorship Policy

This policy is designed to ensure that the MWU/OPTI offers ready access to basic sciences or clinical research mentorship for trainees participating in the postdoctoral training programs.

The MWU/OPTI Program Directors serve as the assigned mentors for all trainee research projects. In addition, institutional Directors of Medical Education may identify clinical faculty members who may serve as mentors for trainees completing their specialty college research requirements.

Trainees participating in the MWU/OPTI may also receive assistance from:

Program Directors
Program Directors are assigned overarching mentorship responsibility for all trainee research activities.

Directors of Medical Education
MWU/OPTI's institutional DMEs assist as needed to identify specific clinicians to serve one-on-one as mentors for trainees completing specialty college research reqirements and to facilitate collaboration.

Office of Research & Sponsored Programs
Midwestern University's ORSP helps trainees identify basic sciences and clinical faculty members to serve as research mentors. Selected members of the basic sciences and clinical faculty identified by the DMEs and ORSP staff members are available as needed to provide in-depth support for studies that require complex designs, IRB review, informed consents that meet HIPAA standards, and statistical analyses of data.

Regional OGMEC offices
Trainees may contact their regional OGMEC Chair for easily accessed assistance in identifying appropriate mentorship.

MWU/OPTI Research Policy

The MWU/OPTI promotes advancement of knowledge and scholarly activity through research facilitated by the institutional Directors of Medical Education and Program Directors. Additionally, the MWU/OPTI coordinates with Midwestern University's Office of Research & Sponsored Programs, where additional services are available. Program Directors and Directors of Medical Education ensure that all research conducted within the training program meets all Federal, state, and local guidelines for the conduct of medical research and is reviewed by the appropriate Institutional Review Board (IRB). The Participating Partner postdoctoral training programs are required to include within their program descriptions and policies a statement describing the research requirement for each trainee as mandated by the American Osteopathic Association and the various specialty colleges.

MWU/OPTI IRB Policy

The MWU/OPTI does not operate its own IRB, and therefore it relies on the IRB reviews provided by Participating Partner institutions with a Federal Wide Assurance (FWA). The Participating Partner institution where specific research is performed may provide IRB review, or the Midwestern University IRB may review MWU/OPTI research proposals to ensure that research involving human subjects meets all regulations in 45 CFR Part 46. In some circumstances, dual IRB reviews may be required to remain compliant with the appropriate IRB policies of the institutions involved. Midwestern University will not require performance of a dual review provided that all of the following conditions are met:

If any of these conditions are not met, the research proposal must be submitted to the University's IRB for review and approval.

Program Directors and Directors of Medical Education are responsible for ensuring that no research involving human subjects is initiated without the prior IRB approval appropriate for each research project.

MWU/OPTI Conflict of Interest on Extramural Funding Policy

Research grants submitted to funding agencies often require that the Principal Investigator (PI) file a Conflict of Interest disclosure statement with the submitting institution prior to grant submission. It is the policy of the MWU/OPTI that all of its constituents submitting research grants must comply with all grant submission requirements of the submitting institution, including those pertaining to Conflict of Interest. Program Directors and Directors of Medical Education are responsible for ensuring that no research grants are submitted by MWU/OPTI constituents without following the policies of the submitting institution.

MWU/OPTI Clinical Trials Policy

The MWU/OPTI has not directly sponsored any clinical trials to date, but MWU/OPTI faculty and trainees are instead encouraged to participate in clinical trials at their institutions. It is the policy of the MWU/OPTI that all of its faculty and trainees follow the Clinical Trials Policies of the institution(s) at which the clinical trial will be performed. Program Directors and Directors of Medical Education are responsible for ensuring that no clinical trials are initiated without adherence to the policies of the Participating Partner institution.

Research Facilitation Policy

The Research Facilitation Policy establishes the minimum means by which the MWU/OPTI provides research instruction and facilitation to trainees and faculty mentors.

  1. The MWU/OPTI provides lectures, curricula, and handouts.
  2. The OGMECs ensure that all training programs deliver a research curriculum and document delivery of research instruction that utilizes a method approved by the OGMECs.
  3. The MWU/OPTI generates, maintains, and publishes on its website a list of basic sciences and clinical faculty research mentors available to provide collaboration or assistance to trainees conducting research projects.

Other MWU/OPTI Research-Related Policies

For any research-related policies and procedures not included above, such as those pertaining to the use of animals, radiation safety, biosafety, or similar research activities, the MWU/OPTI defers to the applicable institutional policies in effect at the specific location where the research is performed. Program Directors and Directors of Medical Education are responsible for ensuring that no research is initiated without following all applicable policies of the Participating Partner institution.


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