Medical interns showcase National Academic Track programme research

Posted on: 26 September 2018

Twenty-four medical interns showcased their research and experiences having undertaken projects in clinical research, medical education or healthcare leadership and management after participating in the inaugural Intern Network Executive’s National Academic Track for Internship programme, which involves the National Doctors Training & Planning programme (HSE) and affiliated medical schools across Ireland.

The initiative provides an early and dedicated focus on research skills among doctors, and builds on research opportunities that are available from undergraduate training across the Irish medical schools. Importantly, it prepares young graduates to take up funding and clinical research opportunities such as the ICAT training scheme as they progress towards more senior roles in the health system.

Back Row (l to r): Dr Christian Cawley, Academic Intern, UCC, Dr Eimear Duff, Academic Intern Trinity/ St James's Hospital, Dr John Birrane Academic Intern NUIG, Dr Michael Creed, Academic Intern, NUIG, Dr Adrianne Wyse, Academic Intern, UCC / CUMH, Dr Odharna Ni Dhomhnallain, Academic Intern, UL/UHL, Dr Tiarnan Byrne Academic Intern, UCD, Dr Stephen Hatton Academic Intern UL. Front Row (l to r):

The interns represent each of the six wider intern networks: Dublin South-East (Trinity College Dublin), Dublin Mid-Leinster (UCD), Dublin North-East (RCSI), Mid-West (UL), South (UCC) and West North-West (NUIG). The programme is supported by the Irish Medical Council and posts are funded by the HSE, with 24 places available nationally – four in each of the six networks.

The programme offered, for the first time in Ireland, a combined clinical and academic training programme for interns, who were chosen for their outstanding academic performance and commitment to clinical excellence. Many have already made valuable contributions to clinical research. Specifically, the interns on the programme benefited from: protected time for research activities within the working week, during a three-month academic rotation; a bursary provided by the HSE and Universities of €2,000 to cover research costs; a research supervisor to provide mentorship and guidance; research skills training; excellent clinical experience and participation in a full range of intern training activities.

Academic lead in the Dublin South-East (Trinity) intern network, and Associate Professor in Medical Education at Trinity, Martina Hennessy, said: “The showcase provided a brilliant opportunity to hear from our interns about their projects and about their experience in the programme, which provides an invaluable early focus on research skills among doctors, and which aims to help them become the healthcare leaders of the future.”

“We very much look forward to continuing to collaborate with all Intern Training Networks and the National Doctors Training & Planning programme in developing and growing this already successful programme, and welcome opportunities such as this, to share the many wonderful outputs.”

Among the 24 interns showcasing their research were the four from the Dublin South-East (Trinity) cohort – Drs Patrick Canning, Eimear Duff, Ralph Hurley O’Dwyer and Daniel O’Reilly, all of whom were based in St James’s Hospital and rotated through the following four sub-specialties: ICU, Cardiology, Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics/GIM, and Vascular Surgery.

Dr Canning sought to predict morbidity and mortality post-endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), while Dr Duff’s project was focused on persistent dysfunctional inflammation and paediatric traumatic brain injury. Dr Hurley O’Dwyer investigated the bioethics of funding a national pre-exposure prophylaxis programme for HIV infection, and Dr O’Reilly compared extracellular vesicle function in extremely premature infants with term controls.

Interns were supported throughout the year with regular meetings, while the Dublin South-East (Trinity) network also delivered a Research Skills Mini Bootcamp that was open to all Academic Track interns nationally. This event was also open to Trinity’s undergraduate students and finished with an ‘Academic Track…What You Need to Know!’ info session.

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