During the three-year fellowship program, all subspecialty trainees receive training in academic research. The objective is that the trainee develops and completes a mentored hypothesis-generated project leading to publication of results in a peer-reviewed manuscript. The program has established the following activities to attain this objective:
1). Continuing Education
- Beginning immediately in the training program, fellows are encouraged to attend research seminars in various basic science and clinical departments. These seminars allow early exposure to faculty on campus involved in research as well as exposure to high quality and topical research projects.
- Fellows participate in NCTraCS course and the Pediatrics Department Core Curriculum and Seminar Series to enhance their education in topics including research skills and biostatistics.
- Fellows will present “research in progress” to the ID Division Faculty and Fellows annually.
2). Active Research
- Fellows have approximately 5 months during their first year of training to develop hands-on skills in a basic science laboratory or develop a clinical research project. The fellow may pursue training in a wet or dry laboratory of one of the pediatric ID division members or a scientist in another department identified by the fellow and approved by Dr. Belhorn. For bench research, the trainee will participate and present at laboratory meetings, gain formal training in record keeping, experimental design, and in multiple laboratory techniques. For clinical research, the fellow will participate in data collection and analysis, discussions of the importance and difficulties surrounding informed consent and the ethics of clinical research in pediatrics. Our fellowship program is flexible, and research projects can be conducted in areas such as global health, public health, antibiotic stewardship, and others. The fellow is expected to choose a research project and mentor at the close of their first year. As the Program Director, Dr. Belhorn will continue to supervise the trainee’s research experience in conjunction with the assigned research mentor.
- During their first year of training, a Scholarship Oversight Committee is developed for the fellow. This committee includes Dr. Belhorn, an additional ID Faculty Member chosen by the fellow, and one to two additional mentors with expertise in the area of scholarly activities. The fellow will meet semi-annually with this committee throughout the training program. The committee will review the progress of the fellow and help design plans for the next six month period. At the conclusion of the training period the Scholarship Oversight Committee will make a final report to the Program Director summarizing the scholarly activity of the subspecialty fellow during their years of training.
- If the specialty fellow has a strong interest in clinical research, the fellow will be encouraged to enroll in courses related to clinical research at the University of North Carolina and possibly to pursue a master’s degree in a related field.
3). Research Grantsmanship, Presentation and Publication
- Under the direction of the research mentor, the trainee writes a grant proposal during the initial year of training for funds to support a mentored hypothesis generated project. This proposal should be submitted to the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and/or to intramural finding sources such as pediatrics research advisory group as well as to other applicable funding sources.
- The fellow submits abstracts of preliminary or completed work for presentation at either regional or national scientific meetings appropriate for the theme of the research. The fellow should submit yearly during their second and third years of training to SPR (Society for Pediatric Research), ASM (American Society for Microbiology), or the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).
- During the third year, the resident has generated sufficient data for preparation and submission of a manuscript to a peer-review scientific publication. Our goal is for each fellow to publish at least one original research manuscript before the completion of fellowship.
The scholarship oversight committee continually evaluates each fellow’s progress in research training and provides feedback and guidance to the fellow.