Resident Research Policy

MUSC Department of Surgery strives to train not only excellent physician surgeons, but also leaders in their field. This requires a solid understanding of scientific principles and an appreciation for the research process. This can be facilitated through directed research mentorship replete with curriculum, milestones, and recognition of effort. This is underscored by the ACGME RRC for Surgery designation of resident participation in scholarly activity as a core residency program requirement. The Residency Research Program Requirements have been developed, reviewed, and approved by the MUSC Department of Surgery Research Council, the MUSC Department of Surgery Graduate Medical Education Committee, the Program Director, and the Chairman of Surgery.

All incoming categorical residents and current categorical general surgery residents are required to have: 

CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative) certification by January 15 of PGY1 or before starting a research project. This certificate can be obtained by completing the course at Certificates should be sent to Sue Wetherholt by January 15th and should be renewed every 4 years.

1. All PGY1 residents must write a research proposal by the conclusion of the first academic year. This proposal will be submitted to the Research Council and scored to select those who will go into dedicated research time. Even those not interested in dedicated research time must work with a mentor and write this proposal.

a. A mandatory session will be held for basic science investigators to present their research initiatives to the PGY1 residents and explain investigative opportunities.

b. A research mentor (basic science or clinical) will be selected and submitted to the Research Council by May 15.

c. The completed research proposal can focus on basic science or clinical research, will be constructed on the provided template, and will be submitted to Research Council by June 15.

2. Completion of  three research projects resulting in a publishable manuscript by their fourth year of residency (beginning with the class of 2019).  The resident must be the first author of the publication and each resident should have their own study. Only one resident may take credit for a manuscript. Out of the three manuscripts, only one can be a case-report.

3. The first project should be finished, signed by the mentor, and turned in to Sue Wetherholt by the end of PGY 2 year (June 30th) to facilitate review by Dr. Ruddy. If it is not finished, a completion date must be approved by the research mentor and Dr. Ruddy. The second manuscript must be completed, signed by the mentor, and turned into Sue Wetherholt by the end of the PGY3 (June 30th) year for review by Drs. Privette and Ruddy. This project should focus on Quality Improvement.  The third project should be finished at the end of the PGY4 year (June 30th) also signed off by the mentor and turned into Sue Wetherholt to be reviewed by Dr. Ruddy. 

4. Reimbursement of expenses for oral or poster (PGY1 or PGY2 only) presentation of these projects will only occur after the manuscript is signed off by the mentor and turned into Dr. Ruddy.  She will then authorize reimbursement of meeting’s expenses. After the 3 manuscript requirement is completed, the Department of Surgery will reimburse residents’ expenses without prior completion of a manuscript, although this is strongly encouraged. Video sessions will be reimbursed without manuscript submission. (Policy effective January 1, 2013)

5. Compliance with these requirements will be evaluated at your semiannual review with the Research Competency Committee and included in your Program Director Reviews as part of your matriculation through the residency. Noncompliance can be considered grounds for remediation and you will not advance to the next level.

6. Each year you will be required to submit any new abstracts for consideration for Surgery Research Day. Given the RRC core program requirement that residents participate in scholarly activity, this process will ensure that we best document our compliance and your hard work.  If you have not completed an abstract that year, you are still asked to submit notification of such. Ten papers will then be selected by the Research Council for presentation in the Fall.

Important Deadlines:

January 15: Citi Course certificate submission for PGY1

May 15 PGY1: Select research mentor

June 15 PGY1: Submit research proposal

June 30: Deadline for first project for PGY2

June 30: Deadline for (second) Quality project for PGY3

June 30: Deadline for second and third project for PGY4


All submissions should be turned into Sue Wetherholt’s office, 416 CSB, or emailed to Dr. Ruddy before or by the proscribed deadline.