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Residency Research Opportunities

Research Scholars Program Application

Clinician Scientist Track

Robert Schonberger - It is a great honor to serve as the Director of our NIH-funded T32, Research Scholars Program (RSP), and Clinical Scientist Track (CST) which together endeavor to support the educational and research missions of the Department of Anesthesiology by offering a strong research pipeline for diverse trainees with a variety of research backgrounds.

While the CST program is an ACGME-approved part of many anesthesiology residencies, the RSP/T32 pathway is relatively unique to Yale and provides a flexible pathway available for selected resident applicants who have demonstrated a strong interest in pursuing research as part of their future career. The RSP program integrates into the clinical residency years and ideally serves as a feeder program into the T32 research training grant following the conclusion of residency (see figure above at right).
Both the RSP and T32 date back to 2009 when Drs. Niklason and Hines, recognizing the transformational power of an internal pathway to support early-career physician-scientists, developed these programs for the long-term growth of the Department’s research footprint. With the help of T32 Associate Director Helene Benveniste and a diverse group of T32 PIs across the university, these programs have supported multiple investigators who have since transitioned into K-level and R01 funded programs of research.
While the RSP/T32 pathway is well-established, the mission of the RSP is in fact broader than just as a T32 feeder program. In recognition of the many phenotypes of resident applicants who are interested in academic careers, one of the guiding principles for RSP is flexibility. Recent RSP participants include several MD/PhDs with extensive research resumes, but we also deliberately encourage residents with other research backgrounds to apply. We realize that many resident applicants come to their clinical training with diverse life experiences but without a classic “MSTP research pedigree” (e.g. Yale students who have taken a “fifth year” of research during medical school). We have a history of accepting applicants ranging from bench researchers to clinical researchers to outcomes researchers.

Whatever their background, our message to clinical residency applicants is that they need not put their academic interests aside simply because they are entering an intense clinical training period. On the contrary, we believe that clinical exposure will enhance young researchers’ ability to pose questions of strong impact for the specialty. With this approach, we have been able to attract both residents who already know they are entering academic careers as well as those who are “at the border” but who may be drawn into the academic pipeline with the support of RSP.
The RSP program is centered around 1) Early efforts to identify mentors appropriate to the resident’s area of interest (including outside of the anesthesiology department), 2) Dedicated time for research rotations during the course of the 4-year residency curriculum (for a total of 6-months during their final residency year), and 3) The formation of a social network of other RSPs, T32s, and early-career investigators, who meet together with more senior research faculty at structured social events several times per year.
Areas for Improvement: While our program has been notably successful in attracting a diverse group of trainees, Dr. Benveniste and I see a need for improved gender balance and early-career retention as two priorities for future program growth. Regarding gender balance, even as we recognize that each of our trainees is diverse in their own way, we want to see our future classes of research fellows more closely reflect the gender balance of our clinical trainees. Regarding improved retention, we recently saw two promising investigators move elsewhere after many years of internal support. We need to do a better job recognizing what our internal “stars” need to thrive and make sure we provide it. This involves proactive engagement to identify unmet needs and a concerted effort to address those needs early.

Recent RSPs presently with funded career development awards:

2021 Research Scholars Program Future Residents:
RSP applications are accepted on a rolling basis in parallel with residency applications. Accepted medical students can then consider their RSP status as they make ranking decisions within the standard residency matching process. This year’s residency matching class has 3 highly promising RSP scholars who elected to come for clinical training to Yale. They are: Burhan Ozturk, MD (Yale); Christopher Dextras, MD (Michigan State); and Jimmy Hom, MD, PhD (Hofstra, Harvard)

The other RSPs presently in our residency program are listed below by year.

Intern:Wendy Wang: MD/PhD: from Rockefeller University and Weill/Cornell: Interested in anesthetic exposures and pediatric neuro-cognitive development.

CA-1:Saul Siller: MD/PhD from Stony Brook: Interests include cellular developmental biology, regenerative medicine, hypoxia and cell signaling.
Bartlomiej Bartkowiak: PhD from Duke followed by MD from Chicago. Interested in the work of the Waxman lab to study molecular biology of pain syndromes.
Jae Woong Lee: MD in Seoul followed by post-doctoral work at U Colorado. Interested in further training with computational biology, genetics, and computer science.
CA-2:Jose Duarte: MD from Venezuela 2013 with subsequent industry work in AI. Interested in pursuing clinical informatics fellowship through YCMI.
Nitish Aggarwal: MD from Ohio State. Interested in outcomes research. Pursuing analysis of predictors of delayed graft function in kidney transplant recipients.
CA-3:Clark Fisher: MD/ PhD from Cornell in neurobiology. Will start his cardiothoracic anesthesiology fellowship this year with transition to clinical trials and outcomes research.
Eric Strand: MD UNC Chapel Hill. Interested in pursuing ICU fellowship after a T32 research fellowship studying the biology of transitions from ICU into long-term PTSD.
Clinical Scientist Track:
In parallel with the T32/RSP program, the Clinical Scientist Track program is a vehicle for residents to undertake from 1 to 6 blocks of research during the CA3 year. Projects range from bench research to clinical trials to history of medicine. We were very happy to attract a strong crop of applicants this year.
Please also join me in thanking the generous faculty mentors who have volunteered to work with the respective residents. These faculty are absolutely essential to make the CST program successful. Finally, thanks to the concerted advocacy of Drs. Gaiser and Hines, we were able to assure the necessary non-clinical time to support the following rising CA-3 residents for next academic year:
2021-2022 CST Residents and Mentors:
Khushboo Baldev (with mentors Jehan Elliot, Jodi-Ann Oliver, and Donna-Ann Thomas): Comparison of Erector Spinae Block with High Dose Steroids to Intrathecal (IT) Morphine in Perioperative Pain Management of Pediatric Patients with Scoliosis Undergoing Spinal Fusion Surgery – A Retrospective Pilot Study
Hesham Ezz (with mentor Paul Heerdt): Continuous non-invasive measurement of left ventricular preload: Accuracy and precision of a novel method during hemorrhage and resuscitation.
Adrienne Mejia (with mentors Cheryl Gooden, Rob Schonberger, and Robert Chow): Assessing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Access to Pain Management and Utilization of Interventional Pain Treatments

Shireen Sarah Nouri (with mentor David Waisel): An Examination of the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Empathy of Anesthesiology Residents

Melanie Wood (with mentor Robert Chow): Use of Intranasal Ketamine as Prophylaxis for the Treatment of Chronic Refractory Migraine (pending regulatory review).

Thanks to the generosity and vision of Dr. Jonathan Katz, Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology at Yale and Professor of Anesthesiology at the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine, the Katz Research Fund has been established to support resident research that focuses on themes of wellness and provider health.
The inaugural winner of the Katz Fellowship is Dr. Shireen Nouri. Please congratulate her on this accomplishment! The fellowship provides funds to support her research and/or a travel stipend to defray costs of presentation at a national meeting.
We hope that the Katz Fellowship will help to promote investigations into the critical topic of caring for the caregiver, an area of research that is as important as it is often overlooked. In the context of the residents’ heroic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of Dr. Katz’ generous gift has only grown.

For more information, contact: Robert Schonberger at