We sought to determine the requirements of both colleges for resident research. The RCPSC’s Objectives of Training in EM describe a scholarly project requirement: “Complete at least one scholarly project that is suitable for peer reviewed publication or presentation at a national academic meeting, as attested by the Program Director.”
1. Expectations and Requirements Recommendations
1.1. Specific clarification is recommended around the goals and exit competencies regarding research training and assessment for emergency medicine residents from both colleges, so they are clearly aligned with the college training objectives. The desired competency outcome (i.e., critical appraiser, research contributor, and/or research producer) and an explicit definition for scholarly project should be declared.
1.2. For the RCPSC-EM programs, a range of research opportunities should be available to meet all competency outcomes, including a stream for advanced research training (e.g., MSc or PhD). The recently revised CanMEDS Scholar milestones are relevant to this process.
1.3. RCPSC programs should develop a research training curriculum for their residents matched to desired competency outcomes.
1.4. For the CFPC-EM programs, a clear path (i.e. explicit objectives and expectations) for those interested in further research training should be defined.
2. Training and Assessment Recommendations
2.1. The RCPSC should address the variability across its programs and consider the advantages of a structured research training curriculum offered early to provide residents more research opportunities.
2.2. Given the two family medicine years plus one emergency medicine year in CFPC-EM training, the CFPC should identify specific research training elements necessary to supplement the family medicine research training curriculum.
2.3. All residency programs should assess individual resident research projects as well as evaluate their resident research programs as a whole.
3. Infrastructure and Support Recommendations
3.1. All programs should strongly consider using a resident research coordinator to facilitate research ethics board application, project management, publication, and program evaluations.
3.2. Resident research programs should link to existing infrastructure within their institution (in other programs or medical departments) to assist residents with scholarly project design and statistical analysis.
3.3. All programs should dedicate research funding support toward resident research.
3.4. All programs should consider matching residents with research mentors (who can provide methodological and pragmatic support). This can also occur outside of the program and/or the institution.
4. Dissemination Recommendations
4.1. All residency programs should encourage their residents to broadly disseminate project results (whether by traditional publication or other peer-reviewed, citeable venues), including manuscript preparation by RCPSC residents and abstract presentation by all residents (at least locally, but ideally nationally).
4.2. Resident research abstracts and manuscript publications should be tracked as a metric for the evaluation of academic productivity, at least locally, but ideally nationally and/or internationally.
The CFPC-EM programs are guided by the Specific Standards for Family Medicine Residency Programs Accredited by the CFPC: The Red Book, which states:
“The acquisition of critical appraisal skills is essential. Programs might require residents to complete an academic project. For those residents who wish to pursue an academic project (research, literature review, quality improvement), the program should provide the opportunity to do so.”
Because we found no further literature describing the expectations and requirements for EM resident research in Canada, our panel developed and refined a proposed definition of a scholarly project at the CAEP 2014 Academic Symposium (see Box 1).