Are PhD to MD applicants evaluated more like MD-only applicants or more like MD/PhD applicants?

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May 23, 2019
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I hope this is not a repost. I think that understanding this process better could be useful to some non-trad MD/PhD hopefuls around here.

I plan to apply to medical school after receiving my PhD (fingers crossed). I know about some specific PhD to MD programs, such as the one at Columbia. For these sorts of programs, the websites say that they seek to prepare their graduates for careers in biomedical investigation. This suggests to me that they evaluate applicants in a similar way to MD/PhD programs; the applicants just happen to already have the PhD, so they have longer histories (than an undergraduate does) of productivity or lack of it that can be evaluated. I plan to apply to most if not all of these PhD to MD programs at MSTP institutions (there aren't many to my knowledge).

Still, I will probably apply to >10 programs to give myself a good chance of getting in somewhere. This means that some programs that I apply to will be straight MD. I want to apply broadly to programs that offer financial aid, including need-based aid. I hear that straight MD adcoms generally focus more on picking "good doctors" than on picking "good researchers"...

As a PhD intending to pursue a career in biomedical research as a physician scientist, do you think regular MD programs would evaluate me more similarly to MD/PhD programs than they would other applicants? If my expressed interest is to do biomedical research as a physician-scientist and I already have the PhD, how do you think I will be evaluated by straight MD adcoms? Do you have any suggestions for how I should present myself to these schools?
Nov 10, 2019
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Because you'll be evaluated by straight MD adcoms in that case, I think it'll be more similar to the process for regular MD applicants. Many MD applicants are non-traditional and have had different careers before switching to medicine. Your application won't be seen by evaluators who are looking for physician-scientists.

When you apply for residency though, you can apply for physician-researcher tracks just like combined degree program graduates, and I think your PhD work will be greatly valued there.
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