Frequently Asked Questions about Research Opportunities at Northeast Georgia Medical Center GME

December 3, 2020

NGMC has provided patients within our community the opportunity to participate in clinical trials since 1996. Historically, our research effort has been focused on offering clinical trials in the areas of oncology and cardiology. Due to the continued hard work and efforts of our research nurse managers as well as our clinical research team, our patients with cancer and heart disease have access to over 40 clinical trials per year in the comfort of their local community. They do not have to drive long distances to get access to cutting-edge investigational medications and medical devices that may give them hope and expanded treatment options in addition to excellent standard of care treatments. National Research trials that we have participated in here in Gainesville, have supported the FDA approval of medications and devices, such as the anticoagulant drug Eliquis and the breakthrough cancer immunologic drug therapy Keytruda, that are now standards of care in the areas of oncology and cardiology.

On top of this great news, now our residents have numerous opportunities to engage in research. Here are a few FAQ’s related to the NGMC GME Research Department

What Research is Happening at NGMC?

There are currently several phase two and phase three clinical trials in cardiology and oncology, research projects on medical practices and processes, COVID-19, healthcare disparities, health literacy and preventative care, physician bias and deprescribing processes, as well as physician practices in mental health management and medical education research. If you have an idea, we can help guide you in every stage of study development.

Help, I’ve never done research before! Where do I begin?

Don’t worry! NGMC GME is looking for residents who are critical thinkers! We welcome individuals who may or may not have had the opportunity to complete a research study during undergraduate or medical school. We are looking for residents who share one key trait—curiosity! Part of our research program includes a comprehensive research skills course and a research mentoring program – we are with you every step of the way.

How do I identify a research mentor?

There are several ways to connect with a faculty member who shares your research interest. We are building a researcher directory, where you can scan the research bios provided and contact a mentor directly. The GME research department can connect you or you can connect on your own. No matter which way you prefer, we have research mentoring agreements and guidance to help maximize the experience.

Can I join a research team?

Yes, with some caveats. If you are interested in gaining experience in clinical trials, we can certainly arrange that, however participation as a researcher will depend on several factors: the external agreements, the principal investigator and the faculty involvement. For internal GME projects, collaborative inter-professional projects, and multi-organizational community projects, you are welcome to reach out to the principal investigator or contact us in GME research to explore the opportunities. Additionally, our team is busy building a comprehensive research project directory where you can look for research teams and researchers can find you!

How do I start?

We have a full array of start-up resources. Most residents and faculty visit us in GME research to brainstorm their ideas. Since residents have limited time, the GME research team will help you focus on what matters most to you, then provide you with the resources and the skills to start developing as a researcher.

I just want to practice medicine!

Understandable after medical school! However, after you take a moment to breathe, you will realize that to be a 21st-century evidence-based physician who is committed to excellent patient care, you have to be analytical, discerning, and current. Research has found that physicians who are engaged in consistent and meaningful research are more satisfied with their career and provide better standards of patient care. Research is not just about NIH or FDA multi-site pharmaceutical trials, at NGMC we support small scale research as well as the larger trials. We also spend a lot of time helping you figure out what YOU are curious about and turning that into a manageable project. The requirements to “produce” a research project vary by program and by your fellowship plans. Engaging in the research process is a personal investment which goes beyond your course requirements. Come and see us in the GME research department and let us help you find your academic conversation. It will be worth it!

How does the GME research department support resident research?

Graduate Medical Education at NGMC has invested in a stand-alone GME research department which provides research education, support and oversight to all GME faculty, staff and residents. Part of that investment is in people, part is in cutting-edge research tools such as ENDNOTE citation manager, IBM SPSS 28 professional edition, NViVO natural language analytic program, Qualtrics Research Survey Platform, and Qlik sense clinical database for research. Information literacy is critical to the modern physician and we provide ongoing drop-in labs, work sessions and consultations for EPIC data and literature searches. We also provide a curated series of mini-tutorials on each element of the research process within our Canvas LMS. We are currently developing a de-identified medical education data registry.