7+ Year Member
May 27, 2009
Resident [Any Field]
I had a general question about two tracks, clinical vs. clinical research (not basic science). I couldn't find many GI focused topics on this specifically, but if this has been posted before I apologize.

I have a fair amount of clinical research and want to go into academic medicine. I wrote a lot about this in my PS and it shows in my CV (17 abstracts/posters/orals, and 8 manuscripts - 3 first author). The research tracks generally involve 1-1.5 years of clinical training, compared to the 2.5 years in the clinical tracks. Do you think (particularly people in either track or who are practicing now) that the research track has enough clinical time and endoscopic training for the fellows? I mean it's clear that 1-1.5 years less of clinical training is significant (it does seem a fair amount is specailized into your practice - ie advanced, hep, ibd, etc), but do the research track fellows feel less comfortable around scopes or insufficiently trained in endoscopy after 1 year of clinical training? How successful are the research track fellows in getting training grants and coming on as full time academic researchers?

I spoke to a fellow at a research heavy program a few years ago and he was worried about job prospects because of this. I also heard that graduates from research heavy programs are less sought after because they aren't trained as well clinically. For this reason I applied mainly to the clinical programs and may consider a masters in research or clinical research fellowship in the future. Thanks for any input.


10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2008
Medical Student
This is late for this cycle, but Would be helpful for future applicants. When you say research track, It would be more important to identify a t32 funded program because without the t32 there is no protected time.

To answer your first question, will research track prepare you clnically. The short answer is yes. To take the gi board everyone meets the 1.5 yr clinical requirement. There is no way you are board eligible with just 1 yr of gi training. Whether you are comfortable or not with that 1.5 yr depends on the program and trainee more than the length of training. There has even been some discussion of shortening gi to two years because of the fact that third year at many programs is primarily for academic or reseach pursuit regardless of being research track or not.

Another point you bring up is career trajectory. At this stage of your career you will have had lots of exposure to people attempting a career research and for one reason or another switched to primarily clinical career. Research is difficult, competitive and full of failure, nobody expects you to be hhmi or be running the next Big trial. But the field won't advance without research. The t32 exists to encourage and set you up to succeed in research and it has had tremendous sucess and of course failure. Its no coincidence that division chiefs at the top gi programs at penn, ucsf, mgh ( and many other programs) are all top researchers and had gone through the research pathway during fellowship. Whether u can get a job without research, I think that depends on yourself and your program than whether you were research track.

So at the end of,the day, is t32 for you? The t32 is for anyone who is interestd in academic medicine who wants to do research which means vast majority of people in gi are eligible. However, t32 spots are limited, and typcally its awarded to md/phds or those with signficant research backgrounds, but why wouldn't you want to have protected time for academic or research pursuits? Even if you didnt apply for the t32 track, you can of course still do research, but that carries no guarantees for protected time and funding. I have also met many people who were originally on non research track who switched to the research track, but not all programs allow this.