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Research Track in Psychiatry

Formal Educational Program

The Research Track is a residency in psychiatry (with the additional option of training in child psychiatry) combined with approximately three years of half time (50% effort) research training. The program strives to be an integrated training sequence of both clinical and research training, and importantly, exposes Research Track residents to research early in their training rather than postponing it to a post residency fellowship. For trainees with substantial research experience, this is an opportunity to continue their research, learn new techniques and skills, and perhaps refocus their research career on a psychiatric problem. At the conclusion of training, the trainee is well positioned to begin an academic career. Trainees typically enroll in the Research Track with an interest in and modest previous exposure to research training. In these cases, the Research Track provides in-depth exposure to research relevant to psychiatry, and has as a goal the nurturing of selected interested individuals and providing the encouragement, structure and resources necessary to begin an academic, research-focused career.

Candidates for the Research Track are selected based on competitive application to the program. Some residents have selected the University of Michigan for their residency in psychiatry exclusively because of this innovative program. Applicants may apply at any time, with appointments typically beginning on July 1 to coincide with the calendar of residency training programs.

The primary research training associated with the Research Track is a mentored relationship with a senior investigator. Approximately half of all past and current Research Track residents have elected to pursue clinical research training, while the other half have focused on more laboratory-based work with a strong clinical relevance. Several trainees have designed projects that have involved both clinical research and relevant laboratory studies. No formal effort is made to pair trainees with mentors: this is left to individuals to determine for themselves. Nonetheless, the Director of the Research Track, members of the Executive Committee and senior faculty members in the department are all available for consultation and guidance, and actively point the prospective applicant toward potential mentors.

The resident works approximately half time on the research component of the training program over a period of slightly longer than three years. The arrangement has been approved by the nation’s Residency Review Committee (RRC). Research time typically begins with two months in the second year of training (PGY-2), followed by incremental research time increases over the following years:

Research Time
(months)

Clinical Time
(months)

PGY-1

0

12

PGY-2

2

10

PGY-3

4

8

PGY-4

6

6

PGY-5

6

6

Attendance at professional meetings is considered a vital part of the education and development of a clinician/investigator. Research Track residents accordingly have a travel stipend for attendance at conferences.