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Research Education & Training

Research education and mentoring is a primary focus of the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. Our goal is to provide fellows with adequate experience with scientific methods to conduct and complete a meaningful research project(s), and provide opportunities to contribute to the neonatal literature through academic publications.

Over the course of three years, fellows learn the fundamentals of clinical or basic research in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine in order to facilitate a career in academic medicine. Our neonatal faculty is unique in its formal relationships with major research institutions, providing opportunities for research and academic publication. Among our faculty are executive members of the Vermont Oxford Network, the editors of the Cochrane Neonatal Review Review Group, and the emeritus Editor-in-Chief of Pediatrics. Their international recognition as leaders in neonatology creates opportunities to co-author chapters and papers in leading texts and journals.

Independent Research

Fellows carry out an independent clinical or basic science research project in an area of their choosing, as well as a systematic review. 

Beginning in the first year of training, fellows work closely with Dr. Roger Soll, the Director of Research, and faculty mentors to identify a project. Opportunities for clinical and basic science research are available through divisional, departmental resources, and collaborations with basic science laboratories in the Robert Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont.

By the end of the first year, they have formalized project protocols (including Human or Animal Subjects Committee approval where applicable) and learned pertinent techniques.  Substantial progress on the scholarly activity occurs during the second year, including local grant applications as needed. During the third year, research is submitted for presentation at both regional and national conferences, including the Pediatric Academic Society, as well as to prominent journals. Recent fellows have successfully completed projects in the areas of clinical research, medical education, ethics, and quality improvement.

All fellows conduct a systematic review through the Cochrane Neonatal.  These may be updates or revisions of previous reviews, or new protocols.  Recent fellow-led published reviews and protocols include:

  • Grev J, Berg M, Soll R. Maternal probiotic supplementation for prevention of morbidity and mortality in preterm infants. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD012519. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012519
  • Young L, Berg M, Soll R. Prophylactic barbiturate use for the prevention of morbidity and mortality following perinatal asphyxia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD001240. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001240.pub3
  • Ardell S, Offringa M, Soll R. Prophylactic vitamin K for the prevention of vitamin K deficiency bleeding in preterm neonates. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD008342. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008342
  • Ardell S, Pfister RH, Soll R. Animal derived surfactant extract versus protein free synthetic surfactant for the prevention and treatment of respiratory distress syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD000144. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000144.pub3

Quality Improvement

Given our extensive participation with the Vermont Oxford Network, quality improvement is considered a strength of our program, and fellows may elect to conduct the bulk of their independent research efforts in quality improvement. All fellows are required to conduct quality improvement research. Fellows are encouraged to participate in one of the two quality improvement teams for the duration of their fellowship, or may independently complete a major QI project. Fellows are expected to submit their work for presentation at the Vermont Oxford Network Annual Quality Congress.

The fellowship provides support for travel to facilitate research development; recent opportunities have included travel to ultrasound and echocardiography courses, as well as quality improvement and clinician-educator research symposia.