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Statewide Collaboration to Promote Research by Family Medicine Residents and Students

Montgomery Douglas, MD, Stephanie Rosener, MD, Henry Yoon, MD, Howard Selinger, MD, Hugh Blumenfeld, MD, PHD, and Mark Schumann

Since the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) increased its requirements for residency scholarly activity, many programs have had difficulty meeting them. Also, educators often seek a mechanism to both demonstrate the wealth and depth of research in family medicine to our medical students while simultaneously promoting research in our departments. The authors sought to turn these gaps into opportunities by organizing a statewide research day that would occur as part of an annual state chapter Academy of Family Physicians (AFP) Scientific Assembly.

Program directors of each of the four family medicine residency programs (FMRPs) along with the two medical school department chairs in Connecticut came together in February 2017 and started this initiative. Each of the six entities would encourage their residents and medical students to submit abstracts for a poster presentation, which would be held from 5-6 pm on day 1 of the 2-day annual symposium. The two resident and two student winners were be offered the opportunity to orally present their research during lunch the following day in front of the larger audience of conference participants. In the second year (2018), students and residents were recruited to the program committee and successfully advocated for the creation of a works-in-progress category, which expanded the number of winners from four to eight.

In 2017, 30 abstracts were submitted: three to four from each of the four FMRPs, and six to seven from each of the two medical schools. In this the second year, 28 abstracts were submitted with a similar distribution. In 2017, poster session attendees included 56 residents, compared to the 22 who attended the overall symposium the year before. Likewise, 40 medical students attended in 2017, also a large increase over the number who usually attend. A significant percentage of these learners attended portions if not all of the overall conference as well. Analysis of postconference feedback revealed that the overall symposium presentations received evaluations averaging 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5. The poster submissions were peer reviewed and met the ACGME requirements to qualify as regional presentations.

Although evidence shows that research day events increase scholarly output by trainees, students and residents have relatively few opportunities to present regionally. 1,2,3 Compared to other statewide family medicine research days described in the literature, eg, those in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Southern California, ours was shorter, as it was an enhancement of an existing symposium rather than a stand-alone event.2 By the same token, this format required fewer resources and accommodated a proportionally large number of presenters. It also offered a significant amount of exposure to trainees, even reaching attendees who were not at the evening poster session, and positively shifted the conference demographic. Because the program committee met monthly for over 6 months of the year, this initiative brought representatives of each of the family medicine entities in the state together on a regular basis and transformed our working relationship, enabling collaboration in other endeavors.

We have shown that a collaborative effort by one state’s family medicine leaders in conjunction with our local chapter of the AAFP can: (1) move beyond competition among residencies and medical schools and create the possibility of meaningful collaboration; (2) help bring the clinical and academic family medicine communities together; (3) enhance youth participation in the state’s annual AFP scientific assembly, thereby investing in the future of our specialty; (4) promote research among family medicine residents and students while assisting residencies in meeting their ACGME scholarly activity requirements; and (5) enhance medical student exposure to family medicine in general and FMRPs in particular.


  1. Weaver SP. Increasing residency research output while cultivating community research collaborations. Fam Med. 2018;50(6):460-464. https://doi.org/10.22454/FamMed.2018.734196
  2. Simasek M, Ballard SL, Phelps P, et al. Meeting resident scholarly activity requirements through a longitudinal quality improvement curriculum. J Grad Med Educ. 2015;7(1):86-90. https://doi.org/10.4300/JGME-D-14-00360.1
  3. Crawford P, Seehusen D. Scholarly activity in family medicine residency programs: a national survey. Fam Med. 2011;43(5):311-317.