Neurosurgery Resident Research and Journal Club

Unlike many other programs, Henry Ford Neurosurgery residents begin research in the first year.

Our Neurosurgery resident research and journal club program, led by Dr. Beverly Walters, helps bring a fresh perspective to research and create contributing members of the neurosurgical future.

Dr Walters LecturingDirector of Clinical Research: Dr. Beverly Walters

Dr. Walters is a neurosurgeon and clinical epidemiologist who is retired from full-time clinical neurosurgery practice. Her experience in clinical research involves the design and implementation of randomized controlled trials, case-control studies, meta-analyses, and outcome measure evaluation, and she has written extensively on study design and assessment of the quality of medical literature.

Her company, EBMAdvisors, provides medical and clinical epidemiological consulting services to universities, hospitals, medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies. She holds several academic research positions, including Director of Clinical Research in the Henry Ford Department of Neurosurgery. She started at Henry Ford in September 2013.

Neurosurgery resident research Q&A with Dr. Walters

What are your primary roles in Henry Ford Neurosurgery?

Education and mentorship. Generally, educating the residents in critical evaluation of the medical literature. Which we do through our journal club, which is a highly structured journal club.

How does Journal Club work?

The residents run the discussion, but I’ll ask probing questions or make statements to get them to think. They start to learn how to critically evaluate previous efforts, and I help them develop an intellectual sieve to review and assess the existing literature. I teach them that it’s about how you ask the question. What maneuvers you make to get the answer. And how to be convincing when you write it up.

When you’re mentoring new Neurosurgery residents, what is your advice?Journal article on computer

I try to be a problem solver for them. For any resident, juggling clinical responsibilities with publication is a challenge. But it gets them ready for real life, because it doesn’t get any easier when you graduate.

What other skills do you teach?

Organization and time management. How to be organized about their thinking, about their papers, how to recognize what jobs they can do in 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes, an hour.

What about collaboration?

It’s a key ingredient to our success. Residents work together in teams, but also collaborate with attending physicians in Neurosurgery and other departments. And we collaborate with other institutions.

What assets do residents bring to a research program?

A fresh perspective and energy. They can run with ideas that have been bandied about amongst the residents and attendings. Once a resident is interested in a topic, they provide boots on the ground for the attendings. And the attendings provide clinical mentoring on the subject.

What about fellowships?

Resident participating in journal club discussionI mentor residents in their development of research portfolios and explain how the process works. A fellowship director wants somebody who can operate flawlessly, because the fellow is responsible for the cases, but also somebody who’s going to write papers.

How does Henry Ford’s approach to Neurosurgery resident research differ?

Some programs wait until the research year, typically PGY 4 or 5, when the residents don’t have many clinical responsibilities. The problem is, that’s never going to happen again. It doesn’t help what we’re trying to do, which is to create contributing members of the neurosurgical future. And that’s the vision that Dr. Kalkanis has for Henry Ford.

How have your own experiences informed your mentoring?

I used to write opera and was a successful librettist. Then I got married and had children, and I became a volunteer childbirth educator when I realized there was a need. Ultimately, I was encouraged to go to medical school. I had concerns about raising my young kids as a medical student, but I did it, and I continued to write. My last opera was written my final year of medical school. I wanted it badly enough, and so I found a way to get all of it done. This is what I try to teach my residents.

Synapse Residents' Corner columns

We also feature our Neurosurgery residents and their accomplishments in the department’s Synapse publication. Each Residents' Corner column is available for download:

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