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The Fundamentals of Surgical Research Course is targeted toward junior surgeons embarking on a research career. Topics cover a broad range applicable to any type of research or surgical discipline, such as finding the right mentor, securing funding, finding clinical/research balance, and conducting high-quality research. Breakout sessions allow for more in depth discussions in a small group setting.

The Department of Surgery’s FIRST Program offers a comprehensive menu of services to clinical investigators in the Department of Surgery. These activities include, but are not necessarily limited to, research mentorship, protocol guidance and development, regulatory support, biostatistics support, study coordination, and grant application preparation and review. To request services, please complete the Services Request form on the FIRST website: FIRST Service Request Form

The ACS provides two courses to prepare surgeons dedicating a portion of their professional efforts to conducting research. The Clinical Trials Methods Course teaches surgical investigators the concepts and skills necessary to develop a protocol for a clinical trial that is fundable by a peer-reviewed agency. The Health Services Research Methods Course is designed to provide surgeons the fundamentals, mechanisms, and resources to conduct effective outcomes research.

Harvard University’s Clinical and Translational Science Center serves the research community by offering courses and educational programs, research consulting, tools for study design and clinical trial collaboration, guidance on regulatory issues, and pilot funding for novel, high-impact projects – all  freely available to trainees, fellows, and faculty.


Basic Science Committee of the Society of University Surgeons

Surgeon-scientists are an essential component of the field of academic surgery, contributing to the fundamental understanding of disease and the discovery of innovative therapies. Despite this recognized value, the current landscape of academic medicine presents significant barriers to establishing and maintaining a successful career as a surgeon performing basic/translational research. Our objective is to define these barriers to academic success for surgeons, and to provide a consensus strategy for optimizing the chances of success.

Gregory D Kennedy, MD, PhD. Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin

To succeed in academic surgery in the current era, it is important that a surgeon brings a unique attribute that enhances the mission of the institution beyond the scope of surgical mastery and relative value units (RVUs). Given the increasing pressure on a surgeon to produce RVUs, how can a prospective surgical scientist successfully develop and maintain a research program? The establishment of a successful research program requires planning that begins in surgical residency and careful decision making along the way with clear focus of goals. This article will provide insight into the steps to consider along the way as you work to establish your successful research program.

Laura D. Cassidy MS, PhD. Department of Biostatistics, University of Pittsburgh

Appropriate statistical analyses are an integral part of surgical research. The purpose of this work is to assist surgeons and clinicians with the interpretation of statistics by providing a general understanding of the basic concepts that lead to choosing an appropriate statistical test for common study designs. It is extremely important to understand the nature of the data before embarking on a statistical analysis.

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