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FOEM Proudly Unveils the Research Quality Improvement Initiative

There is currently a groundswell of support for the advancement of research by osteopathic residents, their program directors, core faculty, and emergency medicine physicians. Throughout its 15 year history, FOEM has led the charge in these research activities and is pleased to announce the latest endeavor to enrich research and the medical community. Funded through a $17,000 award from the David E. Kuchinski Memorial Grant, FOEM is spearheading the development of the Research Quality Improvement Initiative (RQII), a collaborative effort between FOEM and ACOEP’s Research Committee, Graduate Medical Education Committee, Continuing Medical Education Committee, and Emergency Medicine Program Directors. RQII’s aims are to promote and augment research of osteopathic residents by developing internal resources integrated through the FOEM Research Network, and to provide multifaceted oversight, structure, valuable tools and recommendations to support the research process.

Osteopathic residents in emergency medicine are required to produce a research project, suitable for publication, and submit their completed project to ACOEP six months prior to graduation. These projects are designed to provide residents with the essentials of research methods and processes. The resident is tasked with the development of the research project and methods with program directors responsible for project oversight.

In 2012 the Research Committee reviewed a large sample of these research papers and identified some key opportunities for improvement which include a comprehensive overhaul of research requirements, as well as improved information sharing within the College for collaborative efforts. Currently there exists a broad range of interpretation and implementation which has created a number of very promising projects, however they are relatively small-scale and rarely reach publication quality.

RQII will create a tiered system of enhancing research. Mutually agreed upon standards of research and resident effort will be developed and adopted by the Graduate Medical Education Committee. These standards will then be implemented by the program directors, and monitored by the ACOEP Research Committee. To ensure success, these research guidelines must specify acceptable research products and effort levels that are achievable, applicable, and of demonstrable educational value to the profession. Program directors will not only provide clear direction to residents, but also point them toward the needed resources to achieve these new standards. By training faculty members on a common curriculum, osteopathic research can be improved within residencies, and the potential of grant funding and inter-institutional research may be realized.

FOEM has intensified its funding efforts and is now able to sponsor research competitions and to provide seed money grants for small research projects. Additionally, FOEM is leading efforts to unite osteopathic emergency medicine residencies into a research network in order to coordinate multi-center, collaborative studies. Furthermore, a new Faculty Development Track will premiere at The Edge—Scientific Assembly which will train current and prospective core faculty in how best to take advantage of all that RQII has to offer, grant writing, publication tips, and more.

Moving forward, the Research Committee has identified several short-term goals that include developing a cadre of Research Liaisons who are faculty members within each residency who serve as the link between their program and the ongoing RQII process. Other goals include yearly resident paper reviews, establishment of a Faculty Development Track, increased faculty participation in ongoing basic research training.

The second stage of goals will be completed by 2016 and include advanced research education and resources through use of Osteopathic Post Graduate Training Institutions, FOEM research network, or institutional development; increased networking between researchers of comparable interest and capabilities; the fostering of new opportunities for funding through collaboration with other institutions; advancement and promotion for FOEM’s research grants; organization of faculty into functional research groups; and the marketing osteopathic research projects to granting organizations and sponsored clinical research entities.

Though still in its beginning stages, RQII has already made significant inroads in better organizing research efforts, providing residents and attending physicians alike with new opportunities for growth, professional development, and the chance to make a real impact in the practice of emergency medicine. Osteopathic residents and physicians have so much talent, promise, curiosity and passion for the field. Through RQII, FOEM and ACOEP will bring these resources and skills together so that together we can all realize our full potential.