Bob Hanrahan

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Do MD/PhD's do research and academics only? or can they care for patients as well? Also, is MD/PhD one degree? or is it both an MD and a PhD?
 

evenstar

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You can do just about anything you want with an MD/PhD degree. :D It is totally possible to see patients a couple of days out of the week and spend the rest of the time doing research, although I have come across several MD/PhDs who have decided to devote all of their time to research after discovering that they weren't able to give their clinical practice the amount of time and attention necessary to provide the best care for their patients. Personally, the reason I applied for the program was *because* I wanted to have the opportunity to do both and actually have the two aspects of my career inform and build off of one another...the true bench to bedside experience.

The MD/PhD is two degrees: if you apply to a combined degree program (e.g., an MSTP) you typically will complete the PhD portion of your training in between the second and third year of the MD curriculum. Both degrees are then conferred at the conclusion of the 7-8 years (plus or minus) it takes to complete both programs. More info to be found at http://www.intransit.us
 

Habari

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It is totally possible to see patients a couple of days out of the week and spend the rest of the time doing research
not to be contradictory - but i think painting a picture this rosy is a bit misleading. not only is this difficult for reasons of 'competition' in ones respective field, but it is becoming less possible for junior faculty to strike this arrangement with the hospital for financial reasons. there are certainly ways to keep in touch with both sides - some which are more feasible given ones specialty/field of research - but it requires more than tenacity to pull off. not to be discouraging - but i felt that my view while applying was slightly naive. i'm hardly jaded to the possiblity, but the barriers/other issues are just more apparent from my position now.
 
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pathdr2b

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Originally posted by evenstar
It is totally possible to see patients a couple of days out of the week and spend the rest of the time doing research,
I've also noticed that in academic/university settings, doing something like this is a REAL stretch. However, in the 1.5 years I've been at the NIH, it is not only more doable but extremly common. I guess not having to write grant applications leaves time to do both!;)
 

evenstar

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Originally posted by Habari
not to be contradictory - but i think painting a picture this rosy is a bit misleading. not only is this difficult for reasons of 'competition' in ones respective field, but it is becoming less possible for junior faculty to strike this arrangement with the hospital for financial reasons. there are certainly ways to keep in touch with both sides - some which are more feasible given ones specialty/field of research - but it requires more than tenacity to pull off. not to be discouraging - but i felt that my view while applying was slightly naive. i'm hardly jaded to the possiblity, but the barriers/other issues are just more apparent from my position now.
i agree that my statement might have given the false impression that combining both clinical practice and basic science research was common and easily achieved (fell victim to my fondness for the modifier "totally" :p ). my emphasis was intended to be that it is *possible* to do both, as i have seen it done by PIs that i have worked with during my undergraduate years. as a disclaimer, these were department heads/very senior faculty within the university; additionally, they are probably the busiest people i have ever come across! i have also, as i mentioned, met many faculty who have decided it was too difficult to do both, and some whose clinical contact is limited to, say, attending responsibilities once a month. so, i realize there are many obstacles to a career that successfully combines both sides, and thanks to habari for clarifying that. still, i'd like to maintain a kind of reserved idealism in hoping that there is a possibility that i'll be able to do that--of course, if it doesn't happen, i'll still appreciate having had the dual degree training.
 

theprizefighter

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Hi, All

Suppose, however, that you got your MD/PhD and then did clinical research. For example, a guy gets and MD/PhD in Neuroscience and then does Clinical Psychiatry Search (new drug trials etc) then wouldn't it be easier to combine the clinical and research side of things?

theprizefighter
 

cmz

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Well instead of running your lab all by yourself... would it be possible to become a co-PI? That way you have more time to contribute to the clinical side of things, rather than spend more time writing grants, etc.

On a more personal note, I finally "officially" crossed over to the "other" side of the fence.. or perhaps I'm stuck in the middle, but I've been accepted to graduate school. Since I'm an MS3 or whatever, I was told that I could not be eligible for MSTP funding. In fact, I don't even have "MD/PhD" designation until the medical school figures this all out (it's in the works). My question is, is it possible, in the future, to eventually get on NIH's roster or should I seek some sort of alternative when I go back and finish up clinics (strictly wondering about a med school stipend)? Everything is a bit sketchy still but it's inching towards a more complete story...
 

SaltySqueegee

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First time poster in the MD/PhD side of the forums...

This is what I intend to do with my MD/PhD.

Medical Toxicology in an academic environment. I will cater to the pharmacology type academic research environment, and will hopefully have a chance to do a few hours out of the week in the ER or working therapeutic overdose cases. To me it seems to be the perfect blend of basic science and clinical experience.

Hope that helps/inspires... etc. :D ;)
 

Andrew_Doan

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I'm planning to see patients, teach, do surgeries, and do research. It's all good.
 

DireWolf

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There were several MD/PhDs in my department at WashU that mostly did lab research but also saw patients one day a week.
 

mjs

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From the two smartest physician scientists I've interacted with lately comes a more jaded perspective as well. It's too hard to manage a highly productive lab and keep a foot firmly planted on the cutting edge of clinical care. To both of them, it boiled down to the fact that you can do both and do both fairly well, but you it's extremely difficult to do it all on both sides of the fence, so in the end you'll know which way you want to lean. If you plan to continue in the double life, you have to have more of a personal reason to do it.

In the words of my academic advisor:

"I stopped doing clinical work when I got a major grant. It was impossible to keep up. You'll find that while people can do well as both physicians and scentists, very few can do exceptional work in both fields simultaneously."

And my summer boss:
"Medicine leaves off right when [a research problem] gets interesting."

Nonetheless, I only doubt my pursuit of both degrees when I am faced with a laundry list of factoids, never in case reviews, hanging out with my class mates. Nor am I bored in research labs or the clinic.
 
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