Research Education

Research education is a major focus of the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program. Fellows have ample protected time throughout their fellowship to participate in rich and rewarding research experiences.

The primary goal of the research component of the fellowship program is a high quality, in-depth scholarly activity that furthers a fellow's career development. The goal of the program is to provide the fellow with basic and/or clinical research tools, guided tutorials and a broad exposure to research experiences during the fellowship.

Because individuals have different capabilities, motivations and career goals, the choice of research area (i.e. bench research, clinical epidemiological research, clinical trials, health services research, medical education, quality improvement) is selected by the individual fellow with guidance and approval of the research project through the Division of Neonatology's Scholarship Oversight Committee.

Research orientation program

Research orientation is focused into a common research block for all first-year fellows during the fall of the first year.

In addition to overviews of research options within the Division of Neonatology, Division of Pediatrics, and Medical School, fellows receive introductory seminars in biostatistics, epidemiology, study design and developing a research hypothesis.

Ample time is given to fellows to participate in short research rotations with research mentors, which can help fellows determine their scholarly pursuits.

Research curriculum

In addition to meeting the subspecialty training requirements for scholarly work, the research program curriculum provides an in-depth research experience for each fellow, in keeping with our mission to train the next generation of academic neonatologists.

This high-quality research experience is designed to deliver a comprehensive experience, providing graduating fellows with the skills to compete for academic faculty positions, extramural funding and a career in laboratory or clinical investigation. It also serves to develop an evidence-based approach to patient care, and establishes approaches for the life-long assimilation of future research into clinical practices.

The most meaningful research comes from each fellow identifying his/her research interests with the help of the fellowship and research leadership. Incoming fellows often find it challenging to identify their research interests, either by topic or methodology (clinical, translational or basic).

Research orientation, as described above, provides a directed approach for fellows to identify a topic for research, develop a hypothesis to be tested, and design a research plan for years two and three of the training program.

Scholarly activities available to fellows are vast and can be either basic science-focused or clinical in nature. Projects can be completed within or external to CHOP’s Division of Neonatology. Fellows have access to research projects and mentors across the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Attendance at the Responsible Conduct of Research seminar during the second year of fellowship is a requirement of all fellows engaged in research activities. This seminar provides content on ethical aspects of research and clinical/laboratory protocol oversight.

The research curriculum can be supplemented with additional classes in biostatistics, epidemiology, molecular biology, etc. as determined by the fellow and research mentor. Fellows are encouraged to apply for both internal and external funding for research projects and can also apply to have their fellowship activities funded by T32 training grants. Fellows are also encouraged and supported to present their research at regional and national meetings.

Fellows’ research activities are reviewed annually by the Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC). The committee consists of the director of neonatology research, an ad hoc member of the Division of Neonatology, and a member from the medical school external to the Division of Neonatology. At the end of fellowship, the SOC is responsible for determining whether the completed scholarly work has met the American Board of Pediatrics’ requirement for sub-specialty board eligibility.

Research by past fellows

Past research projects completed by our fellows have included:

Learn more about the wide variety of research projects conducted within the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program and meet research mentors within the Division of Neonatology

Additional training and research opportunities

Advanced degree programs

Multiple advanced degree programs are available for fellows. Each program consists of coursework and a thesis or practicum, requiring two years to complete. Further information is provided for each program below.

Certificate in Clinical Research

For trainees interested in clinical research, but who are not planning on pursuing a career as an independent physician-scientist, the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics offers a certificate program. This program consists of 5 courses, many of which are offered in short summer courses, and provides comprehensive training in epidemiology and biostatistics. Learn more.

Pediatric-Scientist Development Program

The Pediatric-Scientist Development Program (PSDP) is an NIH-sponsored program designed to provide research training relevant to specialty areas of pediatrics and to prepare entry-level faculty for research careers in academic pediatrics.

Physicians currently in a pediatric residency — who wish to train in basic, translational or clinical research with an established investigator/mentor —are encouraged to apply. Candidates seeking training in epidemiology/statistics, informatics, health services or health policy, are also encouraged to apply.

A commitment to an investigative academic career is essential. The Neonatology Fellowship Training Program at CHOP has a strong history of fellows supported through this program. To learn more about this unique opportunity, contact us.

Quality improvement training

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) incorporated quality improvement training into its Practice-Based Learning and Improvement (PBLI) and Systems-Based Practice (SBP) competencies.

As required by the ACGME, fellows are taught quality improvement (QI) methods and participate in a QI project during the fellowship. The QI project will be overseen by the Division of Neonatology’s QI Leadership Team.

Date: June 2014

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