Research training during fellowship consists of an in-depth scholarly experience with the goal of preparing graduates for a career as an academic neonatologist. The fellow is mentored by a faculty member with intensive guidance and support from the Program Director, Associate Program Director and division faculty. Research seminars and conferences provide comprehensive exposure to a wide array of research topics and methodologies and cover research ethics, trial design, laboratory methods, and statistics. Time devoted to clinical rotations is greatest in the first year (about 6 months of inpatient service), leaving extended protected time for research in the second and third years. Approximately 20-21 months of fellowship are devoted to research training.
Fellows are encouraged to select a research focus that will help them meet their career goals. The process starts in the spring before the fellowship begins as incoming fellows join us for the annual Department of Pediatrics Research Retreat, where they will learn about current fellow research and meet with division research faculty. Fellows are encouraged to meet with potential mentors, spend time in various research settings, and explore options when deciding on a specific mentor and project under the guidance of the Program Director and division faculty. The mentor and Program Director then work with the fellow to select an individualized Scholarship Oversight Committee that is responsible for ongoing project guidance.
Division faculty members have a diverse research portfolio, including laboratory-based, clinical, and translational projects, research in ethics, medical informatics, education, and health services research, along with expertise in quality improvement. More than $3 million in extramural funding – predominantly from the NIH – supports this research. Fellows are encouraged to apply for a position on a NIH T32 training grant within the Department of Pediatrics. Neonatal fellows are also eligible for training support via NIH T32 training positions across the Vanderbilt campus.
The Vanderbilt research environment is rich with numerous resources available to young investigators. Some relevant research centers include:
- Child Health Policy
- Biomedical Ethics & Society
- Biomedical Informatics
- Digestive Disease Research Center
- Health Services Research
- Institute for Global Health
- Precision Medicine
- Vanderbilt Genetics Institute
- Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
- Vanderbilt Pre3 Initiative (Preventing Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes & Prematurity)
- Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program
- Vanderbilt Center for Lung Research
Fellows with grant support may pursue additional training that will provide skills to further an academic career. These programs are designed to be completed concurrently with the neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship. Degree programs available through the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine include:
- Master of Management in Health Care
- Master of Science in Clinical Investigation
- Master of Public Health
- Master of Science in Applied Clinical Informatics
- Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics
- Certificate of Distinction in Biomedical Ethics
In addition to the opportunity to compete for national grants, fellows are also eligible to receive research support through The John and Leslie Hooper Neonatal-Perinatal Endowment Fund. The endowment was established in 2012 by Leslie T. Hooper and John M. Hooper III to provide support for neonatal-perinatal fellows in the Department of Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. John and Leslie Hooper are committee to making a lasting impact on children's health and wish to support the advanced training and research of future neonatologists and scientists whose work will impact the care provided to our smallest of patients.
Fellows pursue a broad variety of projects. Click here to learn more about our current fellows’ research projects.