Research Requirements

The Department of Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina is dedicated to providing high quality patient care and we firmly believe that this mission is advanced through scientific inquiry. The annual Surgery Research Day is designed to recognize and reward the research accomplishments of all trainees in the Department. As such, we have structured the General Surgery Residency to provide a foundation in research techniques and data interpretation by establishing several mentored research requirements. Those interested in more intense research training may apply to spend time outside of their clinical duties with one or two years of dedicated research time and this process is discussed further below.

Dr. Jean Marie Ruddy is the Associate Program Director for Resident Research and oversees this aspect of resident development.

Intern Research Proposal

During the first year of general surgery training, residents will identify a research mentor and construct a formal research proposal. This project may focus on basic or clinical science and should be structured such that the resident is the principal investigator. The proposals will be reviewed by members of the Research Council and residents will get feedback on their proposals.

For those interested in dedicated time away from clinical responsibilities (for instance, in a basic science research lab, or to complete an advanced degree such as MSCR, MPH, MBA, or to travel to another university for research experience), this proposal serves as the “application” and the residents with the highest scores will have first priority to pursue the non-clinical training. The number of residents selected will vary from year to year.

Manuscript Requirements

Residents are required to write two publishable manuscripts during their time in residency. To assist with time management and organization, the research program is structured such that the first manuscript is due by the end of the PGY2 year and the second manuscript is due by the end of the PGY4 year. One of these manuscripts may be a case report but the other manuscript must represent original research in the form of a case series, retrospective chart review, meta-analysis, or prospective study. We encourage residents to submit all work to appropriate journals, but understand the challenges in achieving publication, therefore a manuscript meets the Departmental research requirement if it is “publishable” (arranged in Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections and represents a thoughtful analysis of the data).

These manuscripts are submitted to Dr. Ruddy for approval, but she is also a resource throughout the research process to connect residents with on-campus services that assist with IRB construction/approval, statistics, manuscript preparation, etc.

Quality Improvement Project

During the PGY3 year, the resident is required to complete a Quality Improvement (QI) project and write a manuscript based on this experience. Dr. Alicia Privette oversees the QI projects and provides guidance on constructing a meaningful question, implementation, and manuscript preparation.

Basic Science Research Experience

All research endeavors are valuable to the growth and advancement of surgical practice, but at the MUSC Department of Surgery we are also invested in the exploration of disease pathology. Laboratories focused on basic science inquiries are grouped into four major categories: Cardiovascular, Transplant Immunology, Surgical Oncology, and Regenerative Medicine. Team science is employed in all groups such that surgeon-scientists work closely with PhD scientists and all labs have supported successful mentorship of undergraduate summer students, graduate students, medical students, and general surgery residents. Please see the individual research lab websites for additional information.