Research and Scholarship

Research skills are a useful component of clinical practice and an academic career. To help you maximize these skills, we encourage research and include ample time during the fellowship for you to engage in meaningful projects.

We offer you protected time to conduct research, and we are attentive to your ideas; we urge you to propose research interests of your own.

Many of our faculty members are seasoned researchers with impressive publication records, and they will gladly provide guidance on your research endeavors.

We’ll give lectures on study design and statistics at the beginning of your training. Thereafter, we have research coordinators and a statistician who can help you with the study and data analysis. 

Quality Improvement Project

In our program, we stress the importance of providing humanistic care. It is critical to always be addressing patient needs, ensuring patient safety and efficiency of the system, and considering measures for quality improvement.

However, we know it can be common for physicians to lack training in quality improvement methods, making it challenging for some to participate in improvement efforts. 

That’s why, in our program, we ensure that you have a firm grasp on how to undertake a quality improvement project.

We’ll require you to complete a quality improvement project, which will help you learn about:

  • assembling a quality improvement team
  • the different types of common quality improvement frameworks and models
  • how an improvement framework can help organize the scientific process of system change
  • choosing a balanced set of measures to determine if improvement occurs
  • the process of obtaining project approval
  • conducting a final evaluation of the project’s results

You’ll gain firsthand understanding of why physician engagement is an especially important component of a project’s success. Completing this project will also help you see why patients and caregivers can offer valuable feedback as members of a quality improvement team.

National and Regional Conferences

Our fellows typically attend a national meeting, like the American Epilepsy Society annual conference. We encourage you to attend, as such conferences provide favorable circumstances to engage in scholarly activities and network with colleagues and experts from around the country.

We will provide you with funding to attend any conference at which you’ll present an abstract. We’ll also fund one national or regional conference visit where you don’t present.

Clinical Trials

When our faculty members collaborate on or lead clinical trials, we’ll encourage you to get involved.

Participating in clinical trials — and trying to improve how we prevent, diagnose and treat conditions and diseases — allows you to advance our discipline. Moreover, it’s important for you to deepen your familiarity with the fundamentals of clinical trial design.

As a fellow in our program, you’ll work with mentors who have experience managing clinical trials. Our faculty members have been collaborators on clinical trials covering a wide range of topics, including:

  • the effect of cannabidiol on drop seizures in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
  • the long-term safety and efficacy of cannabidiol in children and adults with treatment resistant Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome
  • the limitations of conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a predictor of death or disability following neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in the late hypothermia
  • ethosuximide, valproic acid and lamotrigine in childhood absence epilepsy
  • an investigation on whether MRI is an accurate predictor for death or moderate-severe disability at 18 to 22 months of age among infants with neonatal encephalopathy
  • second monotherapy in childhood absence epilepsy

When you work with our faculty members, you may have opportunities to strengthen your understanding of concepts related to clinical trials, including:

  • minimizing variation
  • randomization and controlling for bias
  • successful blinding in order to keep study participants, investigators or assessors unaware of assigned interventions
  • selecting a population to enroll into a trial and choosing a control group
  • logistic and ethical concerns in clinical trials
  • the selection of endpoints
  • planning for interim analysis
  • rationale for choosing structural designs such as single-arm trials, placebo-controlled trials, crossover trials, factorial trials and noninferiority trials

Grand Rounds Presentation

We’ll require you to give a grand rounds presentation for our department. The process of preparing for this talk will further sharpen your research skills.