“I discovered that research is so much more than statistics and 2×2 tables – it is about coming up with a good clinical question, finding the best methods to answer that question, and somehow hoping you find that answer!”
I knew from a very early stage in medical school that I wanted to become a specialist in Emergency Medicine, but my interest in pursuing a research career developed much later and somewhat unexpectedly during my residency. As a medical student, I was fortunate enough to be involved in a faculty research project on renal colic imaging that led to multiple abstract presentations at CAEP’s Annual Conference in 2008. At the time, I admit that my intentions were almost entirely focused on “beefing up” my curriculum vitae in order to become a competitive candidate for the upcoming residency match!
Fast-forward eight years later: I have completed a Masters in Health Research Methodology (Clinical Epidemiology Stream) at McMaster University, a RCPSC-EM residency at Western University, and am currently finishing a research fellowship at the University of Ottawa. I am also a member of the CAEP Research Committee. I will be returning to Western in July 2016 to continue as an Assistant Professor and Clinician Researcher, with a special interest in diabetic emergencies and recurrent hyperglycemic presentations in the ED.
One might ask how a medical student with ulterior motives for getting involved in research might have ended up on a pathway to become a career researcher. Throughout my residency, I continued a prospective cohort study on renal colic patients presenting to the ED and was met with early success including more abstract presentations at CAEP and other EM conferences, multiple resident research awards, and several publications in respected EM journals. Somewhat surprisingly, I found I truly enjoyed doing research irrespective of the recognition I received. I discovered that research is so much more than statistics and 2×2 tables – it is about coming up with a good clinical question, finding the best methods to answer that question, and somehow hoping you find that answer!
I am very grateful to CAEP for recognizing the hard work of residents who get involved in EM research across Canada. I was greatly encouraged by receiving the resident research awards, and was extremely proud to simply have the opportunity to share my study findings with my peers at the annual conference. Without a doubt, I would not be where I am today without the support CAEP has provided to me over the years, and I am excited for partnership opportunities with CAEP as I continue my career as a researcher.
Although we make a difference in the lives of our individual patients and their families on a daily basis, in my opinion, getting involved with EM research is all about leaving a long-lasting and impactful mark on our specialty on a larger scale. The process of conducting studies can be riddled with obstacles and can be painstaking at times, but I have found the best way to resist getting discouraged is to keep the big picture in mind and to remind myself that I really can make a difference through a career in research. .
Justin W. Yan BSc (Hon), MD, MSc, FRCPC
London Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph’s Healthcare London, The Ottawa Hospital
Research Fellow and Clinician Investigator
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute