Internal Medicine Research
The Department of Internal Medicine is dedicated to excellence in research, education and patient care. Our overarching mission is to achieve preeminence as an exceptional academic department through expansion of our national reputation for innovation in fundamental research and patient-centered investigation. We are committed to the creation of new knowledge and for the translation of these findings to the overall well being of patients from our community, region and nation.
The reputation of the Department of Internal Medicine at Wake Forest University Health Sciences as a nationally prominent research department continues to be sustained by substantive extramural funding from prestigious agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. Our overall objective is to move into the ranks of the top 30 Departments of Internal Medicine, as ranked by NIH funding. Total extramural research funding is approximately $36 million dollars annually. In the last available rank of Departments of Medicine by NIH funding, our Department was ranked 44th among all US Departments of Medicine. Several new investigator-initiated programs by physician-scientists, clinical investigators, and research-scientists in several Sections throughout the Department have contributed importantly to our recent success.
The Tinsley R. Harrison Translational Research Training Program is a new departmental initiative designed to provide an introduction to clinical and basic research for residents and fellows. Internal Medicine residents who have already had substantial research training may apply to enter the Internal Medicine Resident Research Pathway which provides an intensive research experience for promising future academic physician-scientists. Many of the Sections within the department have excelled in the career development of young investigators through a strong mentoring experience. It is our hope that residents, fellows, and faculty in this department will succeed in such a system.
A unique feature of our department is a graduate training program in Molecular Medicine. Over 30 students are currently working towards a PhD or MD-PhD in Molecular Medicine and several junior faculty are participating in a masters level program. The curriculum emphasizes translational research and, unlike standard graduate programs, provides students with significant clinical exposure with the goal of linking knowledge from the bedside to the laboratory and back in order to more directly benefit patients.
Faculty in the department are vital to the success of several major research programs at Wake Forest University Health Sciences including the Center for Human Genomics, the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging and Rehabilitation, the WFU Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Diabetes Research Center, the Section on Molecular Medicine, and the Clinical Research Unit. Many of the essential faculty participating in the development of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) application from this institution reside within the department. Opportunities exist within these free standing WFSM Centers of Excellence for development of multidisciplinary research groups consisting of both bench investigators and clinicians.
The department has also developed a Clinical Trials Unit to help match faculty interest with that of potential sponsors. This unit, nearing completion will occupy ample space that is contiguous with our major clinic operation and will encourage participation in research protocols of more of our patients.
A major feature of the environment within the department is facilitation of collaboration. Multidisciplinary collaboration is a vital attribute of our character and has been the reputation of this institution for many years. We strongly believe our culture of collaborative investigation combined with new research initiatives and training programs will ensure a bright and successful future for research within the Department of Internal Medicine.