Research During Residency for Oral Surgeons?

Earlier this year over the summer an article appeared in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery discussing the attitudes of program directors and residents toward performing research during residency. I commented on this article here

A new article has appeared in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery written by Dr. James R. Hupp titled Research During Residency – Should it be Mandated? (vol. 69, pages 2685-2687, 2011). In the article is a discussion of research and whether or not it should be performed by oral surgeons in residency.

Dr. Hupp discuses his own experience with research work and then questions if the current accreditation standards require all Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery residents to do research. He says:

“Now the question becomes, should our standards require all residents to have the opportunity to conduct research and, in my mind, also to learn how to communicate the findings of their research. This is indisputably important for residents planning an academic career. However, how does conducting research during training benefit a resident planning to enter private or institutional clinical practice? Perhaps many more residents should be exposed to research which, ultimately, might lead them to pursue an academic career.”

Dr. Hupp raises some interesting points of some other ways a resident can acquire critical thinking skills without necessarily conducting research. These include

  1. Hospital and clinic teaching rounds
  2. Grand rounds
  3. Quality improvement conferences
  4. Tumor boards
  5. Interdisciplinary conferences
  6. Mock boards

Dr. Hupp further states that another important strategy to improve one’s ability to evaluate scientific evidence and review the published data is to hold journal clubs. In these meetings residents will review assigned articles and then discuss the findings with other residents and faculty.

Dr. Hupp goes on to say:

“In the end, I am having trouble throwing my full support behind requiring all residents to perform research. I am more comfortable requiring that all participate in some scholarly activity and being provided the time and faculty support for the activity.”

At the end of the article is a comment about how OMS departments in the U.S. have a low number of residents participating in research and how steps are being put in place to address this.

I tend to think all residents should have at least a little experience with performing research work but that is because I like to do a lot of different things myself. There is only so much time in each day so somehow having certain residents being more skilled at different areas within the specialty may be in the best interest of the public.

There are also some wise words that appear in the article by Dr. Hupp

” The stewardship side of me says people having had the advantage of being highly educated need to find ways to use that education for the greater good of society. Furthering human kind’s understanding of our world, particularly as it relates to health, is a valuable endeavor in and of itself”

I have previously commented on this post about how lately there is a trend towards more students to pursue careers in the financial industry which quite frankly doesn’t create any real value for society. I challenge any smart, motivated, and talented individuals who may be reading this post or know of someone who meets this criteria to consider a career in healthcare and particularly in dentistry and/or oral surgery (although of course for the right reasons).

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