The Department of Surgery is firmly committed to research as an integral component of the institution's academic mission. Opportunities are available throughout the General Surgery Residency Program. Areas of investigation include both clinical and basic science research based on the diverse interests of the faculty within the Baystate Medical Education and Research Foundation. Ongoing clinical research incorporate participation on national cancer treatment studies, geographic information systems analysis in trauma, and several intramurally-conducted clinical trials. The department supports an epidemiologist and a biostatistician to assist with these activities.
In 1996, the Biomedical Research Program was established as collaborative initiative between Baystate Medical Center, and The University of Massachusetts at Amherst. More recently, the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Initiative has been created based on the success of the Collaborative Biomedical Research Program. Two research facilities, each located at The University of Massachusetts (Amherst Campus) and at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, will house the initiatives administrative, laboratory and animal care core activities.
The Department of Surgery is responding to this collaborative effort with the establishment of a more formal basic science research program. New laboratory space has been secured in the research building currently under construction at the Baystate Medical Center. The animal care core facility will accommodate the departments research and training activities in minimal invasive surgery. A close collaboration has been formed with the Department of Biology at University of Massachusetts (Amherst). Recent recruitment efforts have identified surgical faculty with interest in molecular biology as it pertains to clinically relevant areas of oncology, trauma and critical care. Residents will be expected to conduct their basic science research within this more structured environment through the combined mentorship of clinicians and scientists. Graduate degrees (Masters or Doctorate) will be available through The Program of Molecular and Cellular Biology for residents who are interested in devoting two and three years of concentrated research respectively.
The Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute was established in 2002 by the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Baystate Medical Center to provide a novel translational research environment for interdisciplinary teams of life scientists, physical scientists, engineers, and physicians. Through the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute and the affiliation with University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Department of Surgery has established a formal basic science research program. Our surgical faculty contributes to a growing number of collaborations with scientists from University of Massachusetts Amherst Campus with interests in clinically relevant areas of oncology, plastics and reconstructive surgery, wound care and healing, trauma and critical care, bariatrics and endocrine surgery. These collaborations provide access to a wide range of scientific and engineering disciplines including many not found in traditional medical school environments. Residents conduct their basic science research within a structured environment through the combined mentorship of clinicians and scientists. Graduate degrees (Masters or Doctorate) are available through the Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program. There are opportunities for intramural funding through Rays of Hope Foundation, and Baystate’s Division of Academic Affairs.
Goals and Objectives
Residents in the surgical residency at Baystate Medical Center are encouraged to pursue research during their surgical residency and to learn critical review of the medical and surgical literature with the goal of becoming life long learners. Exposure to the actual process of performing research will enable the resident to evaluate scientific studies with a more critical eye and will enable them to achieve a level of expertise in a particular area not possible during routine surgical residency. As a result of these two years of research the residents will generally pursue an academic career or an area of specialized training and practice.
Each year, two residents are selected to spend two years in the research program studying either basic science projects or clinical subjects or a combination of both. Residents are awarded this privilege on the basis of superior performance in their prior clinical rotations as PG 1 and 2 residents. The laboratory experience begins after the second year of residency and lasts two years. Return to the residency is guaranteed providing the resident's performance continues to be satisfactory. The resident can anticipate returning to full clinical duties as a PG 3. While in the research program residents are paid a salary.
Research During Residency in General
All residents are encouraged to participate in research and other scholarly activities and are expected to complete at least one study worthy of publication during residency. Many projects exist within the department, some are partially complete while others are in the design phase. Residents can review these ideas and select a project they would like to pursue or they may design their own project. Assistance with statistical design and analysis is available from a biostatistician and an epidemiologist.