Research is constantly pushing the boundaries of what we know. The research cycle starts with a curious physician that notices something that doesn't make sense, and continues with an increasingly closer look into the situation. Observations lead to the larger studies that help us figure out how to maximize outcomes for our patients. Finally, the information obtained from controlled trials is implemented locally into practice, and careful observations are needed to ensure that discoveries made elsewhere are applicable to our patients. Residents participate in this research cycle by performing at least one of these steps with the guidance of an experienced faculty mentor.
Making observations: Case reports and case series are important documents that describe patients with unusual problems. They are very useful sources of information for practicing physicians to alert them to the known literature on patients with certain features. Perhaps most importantly, patterns described in these manuscripts alert the medical community of some, potentially new problem. This includes alerting the researchers who are experts in the field, who may want to take a closer look at the problem.
Performing Research: The problems identified from those early observations lead to research studies. these may be epidemiological in nature (to characterize the larger context of the problem), laboratory based (to identify the mechanisms of the problem), or clinical (to uncover approaches to treatment). The breadth of research experience of our faculty members provides residents with ample opportunity to participate. To learn more about current research in Pediatrics, please visit the Tulane Pediatrics Research website.
Implementation and Quality Improvement: Implementing research finds into clinical practice must be done carefully. We need to ensure that the research findings are definite enough to change clinical practice in general, and then to specifically ensure that the finds performed elsewhere are relevant to our patient population. Residents that participate in clinical quality improvement projects will collect the data needed to ensure that implementation does result in improved health outcomes for our patients.
It is our job as pediatricians, to continuously assess what we do in clinical practice and make changes as the scientific discoveries support changes. Training at the Tulane Pediatrics Residency Program will ensure that you are equipped to do this.