Welcome from the Director of Residency Training for Research
Katharine A. Phillips, M.D.
Director of Research Training
General Psychiatry Residency
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
Alpert Medical School of Brown University
The Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (DPHB) offers outstanding research opportunities for residents. The Department’s research activities have remarkable breadth and depth, and our department is considered one of the most outstanding academic psychiatry departments in the country. We have excellent faculty who are known not only for their research and other scholarly activities but also for their collaborative spirit, accessibility to residents and other trainees, and dedication to research mentoring. These characteristics make Brown a terrific place for residents to do research.
Why do research as a resident? Research is exciting - it’s about generating new knowledge, exploring unanswered questions, and moving the field forward. Doing research is extremely rewarding intellectually, and it ultimately improves the care and well-being of patients. Getting involved in research during your residency will enhance your training and education. It may also help you meet your future career goals. If you’re interested in a research career, doing research as a resident will be an invaluable experience that will set the stage for this rewarding career path. Getting involved with research as a resident will also be valuable if you decide to pursue other types of careers -- for example, in academics or education. Brown University is an outstanding place to get additional research training after residency; the department offers many post-residency research fellowships that provide additional research training to further prepare for a research career.
In collaboration with Drs. Jane Eisen and Bob Boland, my goal is to make research accessible to all interested residents -- to help you learn about research, offer a wide range of research opportunities, help you find a research mentor in your area of interest, and make research a valuable and rewarding part of your training. A research experience is optional, and it can be a large or small part of your training at Brown. Residents are encouraged to publish their research findings and present them at local and national meetings. We also offer a research track to give interested residents increased opportunities to develop their research interests during residency training. Our goal is to tailor a research experience to each person, so it fits your needs and enhances your training experience.
If you have any questions about research opportunities at Brown, please feel free to call me at 401-444-1646 or email me at Katharine_Phillips@brown.edu. If you come to Brown for your residency, I look forward to meeting with you to discuss research opportunities in our Department and develop an exciting and rewarding research experience for you.
Specific Research Opportunities for Residents Available at Brown.
Brown is an outstanding academic institution with many research opportunities for interested residents. Our research faculty members are accessible and enjoy mentoring. Our goal is to help interested residents learn about and participate in research activities and to tailor research experiences to each resident’s interests and goals. A research training experience during residency can greatly enhance one’s training and learning experience. It can also help residents meet their future career goals, especially if their goals focus on research or other scholarly activities.
The outstanding research faculty in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior are highly productive and have approximately $43,000,000 a year (direct and indirect costs) in sponsored research (this includes research awarded directly to Brown and to departmental faculty in the seven Brown-affiliated hospitals and centers). In addition to the department’s well-known strength in treatment research on mental illness and addictions, the department has substantial research activity in biological bases of behavior and psychopathology. Ongoing research in the department covers a very broad range of topics. Much of the research is interdisciplinary, encompassing psychiatrists and psychologists within the department, as well as collaborations with pediatricians, primary care physicians, neuroscientists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, engineers, educators, epidemiologists, and economists outside the department.
Outstanding research that is relevant to mental health is also being done in some of the departments on the Brown University campus. These departments include Neuroscience, Molecular and Cell Biology, Engineering, and Cognitive, Linguistic, & Psychological Sciences. These scientists collaborate on projects with researchers in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior.
Because of this high level of research activity, there are many opportunities for residents to get involved in research projects. Brown’s excellent faculty are renowned not only for their research and other scholarly activities, but also for their collaborative spirit, accessibility to trainees, and dedication to research mentoring.
A research experience is optional, and it can be a large or small part of a resident’s training at Brown. In collaboration with a research mentor, residents can participate in ongoing projects or initiate their own research project. Protected research time is available in the PGY-1, PGY-2, and PGY-3 years for selected residents. A research elective is available during the PGY-4 year, which provides additional time for research. Residents may also attend a resident research seminar and journal clubs; as their time allows they can attend research meetings in their mentor’s laboratory, T32 postdoctoral research seminars, or other lectures and seminars in the Brown University community that are relevant to their research interests. Residents are supported in carrying out and completing one or more projects, and they are encouraged to publish their work and present their findings at local and national meetings.
Residency Research Track
An optional research track has been developed for the Brown University General Psychiatry Residency to give interested residents protected research time and increased opportunities to develop their research interests during their training. Residents increase their involvement in the research track with each successive year. Residents may also pursue research interests without participating in this track.
All residents in all PG years are welcome to attend a resident research seminar that is overseen by the Director of Research Training; participants on the research track are required to attend. The seminar covers a broad range of topics relevant to doing research. It includes didactic topics (for example, selecting a research topic, study design, ethics, writing a manuscript for publication) and career development issues. It also provides a forum for residents to discuss their research ideas and projects, practice presentations, and discuss manuscript drafts. As their time allows, residents on the research track can attend research seminars and lectures offered by Brown’s federally funded T32 research fellowship, the Brown Institute for Brain Science, and other Centers, Institutes, and Departments at Brown.
For residents who wish to participate in the research track, the following are suggested activities and a suggested time-line (although some residents choose a more accelerated time line).
PGY-1: During the PGY-1 year, residents select a research mentor. Residents are matched with a research mentor through meeting with the Director of Research Training, meeting with potential mentors, understanding the resident’s interests and goals, and the resident’s becoming familiar with the various projects being conducted in the department. After selecting a research mentor, residents are encouraged to begin working on a research project in the PGY-1 year.
PGY-2: Residents meet on a regular basis with their selected research mentor. They begin to develop a suitable research project. Residents who started a project in the PGY-1 year will continue their project(s). During this year, residents on the research track attend the regularly held resident research seminar that is described above. Residents also attend a weekly journal club conducted by faculty at Rhode Island Hospital and can attend other lectures and seminars in the Brown community as their schedule allows.
PGY-3: Residents continue to work with their mentor on their research project(s). They may use one afternoon a week for research. Residents on the research track also continue to attend the resident research seminar, journal club, and other relevant meetings and seminars in the Brown community as their schedule allows. In addition, they are encouraged to participate in relevant national research mentoring activities. They are also encouraged to present a poster at the department’s annual research day and at a national meeting.
PGY-4: Residents use a portion of their elective time to continue working on their research. They continue to attend the above-noted seminars and meetings plus an additional journal club, and they are encouraged to give a presentation of their work at the resident research seminar (they can also do this during the PGY-1, PGY-2, or PGY-3 year). They are encouraged to participate in relevant national research mentoring activities (for example, those sponsored by the APA). Residents prepare a poster(s) presentation based on the results of their project(s), and they are encouraged to present this work at the department’s annual research day and at a national meeting (this may also be done earlier in training). Residents are encouraged to write up their results for publication in a journal, in collaboration with their faculty mentor (this, too, is encouraged in earlier years). As their schedule allows, residents can attend other lectures and seminars in the Brown community.
The research elective rotation is an elective training experience during which residents gain additional knowledge, skills, and experience relevant to conducting research. This rotation enables residents, under the mentorship of a researcher faculty member, to conduct a research project, learn research methods, and gain other research-related skills. The rotation requires an interest in research, a commitment to conducting a research project, a high degree of organization and efficiency, commitment to developing an analytic thinking approach, and a strong commitment to professionalism (in particular, adherence to ethical principles pertaining to research).
This rotation occurs during the PGY-4 year. The rotation is a minimum of one month and may be longer. In most cases, residents who participate in the full-time elective described here will have had some involvement in research or related scholarly activity earlier during their training (although this is not required).
The goal of this research elective is to enable residents to learn about research and participate in a research project that is tailored to each resident’s interests and goals. During this elective, residents learn about research methods and work on a research project under the mentorship of a faculty researcher in the department. Other research activities will be determined by the resident’s interests and research productivity to date. For example, residents may use this time to work on a grant application for research funding.
Post-Residency Research Fellowships at Brown
Residents who are interested in a research career are encouraged to apply for a position in a Brown University postdoctoral research fellowship, which provides additional research training after residency to further prepare for a research career. There are currently six federally funded research training fellowships (T32s) at the medical school that are affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior. In addition, the Department of Neuroscience has a postdoctoral T32 research training grant that is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.