Award: Family Medicine Resident Research Grant Competition recipient announced

In its inaugural year, the Family Medicine Resident Research Grant Competition has awarded $3000 to Dr. Obaidullah Khan’s project entitled, “Triaging of Canadian family medicine residents for POCUS screening of AAAs: a feasibility study.”

The Department of Family Medicine and the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine launched the Family Medicine Resident Research Grant Competition this past academic year. The competition was open exclusively to PGY1 family medicine residents at Western, with up to $5,000 of funding awarded each year.

The competition was established to promote high-level primary care research while building grant preparation and writing skills. All first year family medicine residents were eligible to apply.

Spearheaded by Lawrence Yau (PGY2 – Mt. Brydges), the competition is a great opportunity for residents to use as a stepping stone for much larger national level grants in the future.

The Department is excited to announce that the Family Medicine Resident Research Grant Competition will once again run in 2021. An information session will be held in October (date TBD).

In congratulating Dr. Khan on his winning entry, we discussed his experience with research and how the competition has provided him with great encouragement.

Tell me a bit about yourself, and your past research experience. 

I’m a first year family medicine resident at Western University, working mainly at the regional Mount Brydges site. The site provides excellent exposure to clinic, hospitalist, ER and OB settings, and it’s been a privilege to work with staff who are generalists in the truest sense! My past research experience was mainly specialist-oriented with surgical and biomedical research for which I’ve been fortunate to publish three studies and two posters, mostly retrospective in nature.

Discuss your winning entry and research project. What were you hoping to achieve, how did the grant funding support your research, and your plans to further your research in the future. 

While working in the family clinic, my mentors Drs. Carter and Grushka noted that, while we use POCUS for various indications in the ER, we don’t make use of this skill set in the clinic setting. Further studies are telling us that screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA), diagnosing deep-vein thromboses (DVT) as well as identifying an intrauterine pregnancy have all been validated with close to 100 per cent sensitivity and specificity in the primary care setting. Since valid indications exist, and POCUS devices are the cheapest they’ve ever been, why do residents not get enough training in POCUS in their residency programs?

In that context, our winning research project plans to follow family medicine residents who have no prior training in using point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS). They will attend an academic half day on performing a POCUS exam for AAA, which they shall replicate for consenting patients at their clinic site. Patients will also be given a requisition to do a formal ultrasound in this regard. We will then compare the formal ultrasound measurement with the residents’, thereby examining how well residents can detect AAA. With regards to preventive medicine, this can be a great step forward that advises us toward best practice, early detection of AAA and also validating a curriculum for AAA detection in the family medicine setting.

What did you learn from the experience? 

An incredible amount to say the least! We have a great team of staff and residents with experience in medical education, statistics, and a passion for POCUS. This experience continues to advise my future career planning, and I’m very grateful for that.

What suggestions or recommendations do you have for peers hoping to apply for grant funding?

Find a research project that you’re very passionate about and take your time to do so. Stay in touch with the Department of Family Medicine (a big shoutout to Adrienne, our awesome Postgrad Academic Coordinator!) to get resources on both internal and external grants. Apply everywhere!

What are your future plans/goals, and how will this award shape them. 

As it stands now, I hope to work in an academic setting where I’d be able to conduct research and teach. Clinically, I hope to carry on being a generalist, staying in touch with the skills I’m working towards in my residency program. This award is a great encouragement, and I’m glad that the Department of Family Medicine plans to continue awarding these grants in the future.