The physicians who will be entering our residency program will have their professional careers in the 21st century. The knowledge, skills, and techniques needed to treat patients optimally during their careers are currently being discovered, or will be developed in the future. Thus, familiarity with the process of generating new knowledge, i.e. research, is crucial not only in training future leaders in our field but also for maintaining competence in clinical work.
Our program has established a resident research requirement in which each resident must plan and complete a research project under the supervision of a faculty preceptor, write it in publishable form and present it at Grand Rounds prior to graduation. Award-winning resident projects have included: development of an HIV Education Protocol; development of an artificial intelligence program for decision-making in the psychiatric emergency room; a project about the attitudes of California psychiatrists concerning patient suicide; and development of a pharmacological and behavioral protocol in treating agitated patients.
The VA Central California Health Care System is participating in a major psychiatric research initiative drawing together VA facilities on the West Coast and Hawaii. The Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) will be studying pharmacologic treatments of Dementia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, including neuroimaging correlation with MRI and functional MRI. This important research effort involves several faculty members, and resident participation is encouraged.