A primary objective of the fellowship program is to train future academic neonatologists. To this end, nearly two-thirds of the three-year training period is devoted to research activity. Most of this time is spent in blocked months during the second and third years of fellowship training.
Research training begins during the orientation month. In July, first-year fellows attend Fundamentals of Clinical Investigation. This course, which meets Monday through Thursday evenings for four weeks, provides an overview of patient-oriented research and includes instruction on critical appraisal of medical literature, research design, biomedical statistics, and ethics in research. The orientation also includes introductory sessions on cell and molecular biology. Courses in scientific writing and grant preparation are available as training progresses.
Selecting an Interest and Mentor
During orientation and for the first few months, fellows identify areas that interest them and explore opportunities for their research activities. In consultation with the program director, fellows are encouraged to meet investigators working in their field of interest and to visit laboratories.
Mentors can be selected from within the Section of Neonatology faculty, the Department of Pediatrics, or throughout Baylor College of Medicine, including the basic science departments.
Completing a Project
Once a mentor is selected, the fellow and mentor identify a specific research project and a training curriculum. A Scholarship Oversight Committee is appointed for each fellow to monitor progress during the course of training and to approve the training in scholarly activities upon completion of the fellowship program.
By the end of their second year, fellows are well established in their own research projects. During the third year, fellows present their data at national meetings and prepare a manuscript for publication.