The University of Michigan Sen Lab has launched the Intern Study app. The Intern Health Study is a longitudinal study that will assess the stress and mood of medical interns at academic institutions in the US. The Intern Study app will be used to collect survey information, daily mood, location data, and even collect a resident intern’s DNA.
DNA will be collected by mailing out DNA collection kits to resident interns. DNA collection paired with research studies utilizing the iPhone is not new. A recent ResearchKit study app for Postpartum Depression launched from the University of North Carolina will be collecting study participant DNA in order to correlate genes with depression.
The multi center Intern Health Study will also try to correlate genetic data with stress and the development of depression — in this case with physicians in training.
Those of us that went through residency know the toughest year was almost always intern year. Intern year is a rite of passage, and brings new levels of responsibility and stress. Years ago interns and residents were pushing more than 100 hours a week in the hospital. But with new residency hour restrictions the cap is 80 hours a week — still a lot. I’m often reminded of the show Scrubs and Dr. Cox.
I’m fascinated to see if correlations can be made between the genetic data collection and stress and depression. However, if a correlation is found, how will that affect future residency applicants?
In order to participate in the study you need an access code, must be starting residency in summer of 2016, and an iPhone 5 or higher.