The PRIME Program

UCSF Internal Medicine Residents can select a specialized Area of Distinction during their second and third years. The largest of these is the Clinical Research Track or PRIME Program, (also known as “Program in Residency Investigation Methods and Epidemiology”).

The VA-based PRIME program aims to foster residents’ critical thinking skills and expertise in research while exposing trainees to a broad range of professional development opportunities. Residents in PRIME complete an Evidence-Based Medicine and clinical research curriculum that focuses on research methods, epidemiology, and career development. Residents also attend dedicated journal clubs and works-in-progress sessions. During PRIME blocks, residents also rotate through VA outpatient subspecialty clinics and urgent care to gain the breadth of knowledge needed to become effective internists.

To provide hands-on experience and give residents a chance to “try out” a research career, each resident is paired with a mentor and given protected time to complete an academic PRIME project. These projects range from educational interventions to secondary data analyses in outcomes research to meta-analyses. Residents pursue topics that they feel passionate about and that can be utilized to become experts in their field. Approximately 60% of PRIME projects are accepted for publication. Many former PRIME residents have become researchers and clinical leaders at VA medical centers throughout the country.