Surgical Multispecialty Access to Research in Residency Training (SMART)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Surgeon-scientists are an underrepresented population in academic medicine, and federally funded surgeon-scientist-led research has been in decline over the past decade. Substantial challenges are faced by surgical residents seeking research training. Importantly, surgical resident training programs with ample protected time for dedicated, intensive experiential research training have effectively contributed to the “pipeline” of successful, independently funded surgeon scientists. These researchers have meaningfully impacted surgical oncology patient care and scientific knowledge. The proposed Surgical Multispecialty Access to Research in Residency Training (SMART) program brings together the extensive multidisciplinary oncologic expertise at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center to create a multidisciplinary, two-year research training program consisting of (1) a Health Services and Outcomes Research (HSOR) Track and (2) a Basic Science and Translational Research Track. SMART will draw upon the FSM Department of Surgery’s 30-year experience of training surgical residents in bench and translational surgical oncology research and the 15-year surgical oncology HSOR resident training collaboration between the Northwestern Institute for Comparative Effectiveness Research in Oncology (NICER-Onc), the HSOR Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern, and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Cancer Programs. Since 2009, we have trained 43 surgical research residents who have gone on to oncology-focused academic careers. During a two-year, intensive training period (90% protected time), residents in SMART will be immersed in multidisciplinary, experiential research training, using a team science approach, with committed mentorship and focused didactic teaching, while assuring their eligibility for certification by the American Board of Surgery. Each trainee will have an experienced and diverse Mentor Team (content and methodological experts), tailored to their training needs. The SMART core curriculum will include brief courses in study design and analytic approaches, best practices and ethics in research, and career development. Trainees will participate in the workshops, seminars, and research training opportunities at Northwestern and at relevant surgical and oncologic professional societies. Trainees will design and execute research projects that culminate in presentations at major national professional meetings and publications in high-impact journals. Continuous monitoring and iterative program improvement will be achieved by engagement of a highly accomplished External Advisory Committee and robust evaluation by Northwestern’s Searle Center for Advanced Learning and Teaching. The ultimate goal of the SMART program is to assure an increase in the number of surgical resident trainees who successfully pursue and achieve academic careers as independently funded surgical oncologic physician-scientists. Northwestern is uniquely positioned to assure the success of the SMART program. SMART will be a national leader in developing future surgical oncology physician-scientist leaders and mentors.
Effective start/end date2/1/211/31/25


  • National' Cancer Institute (5R38CA245095-03)


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