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Duke and Columbia MD/PhD and other short programs...

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by MacGyver, Jul 26, 2002.

  1. MacGyver

    MacGyver Banned Banned

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    Since Duke has a year of protected research time (3rd year) regardless of if you are MD or MD/PhD, I'm assuming that MD/PhD people use this period to start work on their PhD, and thus finish a year early compared to other MD/PhD programs.

    On the website it states that their AVERAGE length is 6 or 7 years. Thats pretty outstanding in my mind. I know there was a thread on Columbia about how their average is also 6 or 7 years (due to only 1 year of clinical rotations)

    Now, since Duke covers the basic sciences in only 1 year, they have to cut out some material. But obviously the material they do cut out doesnt seem to be relevant, because their MD/PhD grads know just as much important basic science as other MSTP grads. Why dont other programs follow suit? It seems obvious to me that the 2 year basic science curriculum is outdated and contains redundant and/or irrelevant info. Otherwise, how is Duke able to get away with half the time?

    The Columbia approach seems less ideal to me. Instead of cutting out a year of basic science, they cut out a year of clinical rotations. I would think that clinical rotations are much more important than basic science. From the Duke model, it must be obvious that you really dont need to devote a whole 2 years to basic science.

    But then again, Columbia's grads also seem to do very well. Its not like they are blackballed at residency programs because they only had 1 year of clinical practice. Their match list seems to be very good, at least as good as other schools of their caliber who use 2 years to do clinical rotations.

    So, if its possible to get away with 1 year of basic science (Duke) and 1 year of clinical rotations (Columbia) then why is med school 4 years long at 99% of institutions? Columbia and Duke grads are just as good as other grads, so isnt that strong evidence that you dont need to devote 2 years each to basic science and clinical practice?

    And isnt that also evidence that MD/PhD should take only 6 years on average instead of 8? Otherwise, you would have to imply that Duke/Columbia MD/PhD grads are subpar compared to other MD/PhD grads, and there is no evidence of that whatsoever.
     
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  3. atsai3

    atsai3 10+ Year Member

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    Cutting out a year of clinical rotations could be possible. At many medical schools (including mine), the 4th year is entirely elective based aside from a required acting internship. Most of the electives students choose are "golf" electives -- radiology, dermatology, "ophthalmology research", etc etc. To a person they will admit that they learn absolutely nothing during most of their 4th year electives. Some see it as a 'reward' for working so hard during 3rd year, others see it as a waste of time.

    Some schools have accelerated residency programs (with a residency program affiliated with that particular institution): your 4th year of medical school becomes your internship year, you draw an intern's salary and don't have to pay 4th year tuition.

    So depending on what school you go to, having only one clinical year wouldn't be tragic.

    -a.
     
  4. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Can you identify these schools.
     
  5. Bikini Princess

    Bikini Princess 7+ Year Member

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    Umm...I understand that many med students feel the fourth year is the most rewarding, and the best preparation for their chosen residency. I suspect that some medical students might not agree with your post.
     
  6. Rumit

    Rumit Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Boston
    Well, I don't know about cutting time off medical school, but it seems that with most programs the real determinant of length is the time of the PhD. This really varies from school to school, as some programs actively try to push you through, while others let you move at whatever pace your PI wants. Along with looking at the average time for MD/PhD, I would also check out the average time for regular PhD's at any particular school...as this will give you some idea of the timeframe.

    Also, it's good to keep in mind that just getting through is not all there is to it. You have to really love the process to make it through, because even after graduation there's plenty more...ie, postdoc and/or a residency. I would say that whether a program averages 7, 8 or 9 years is pretty irrelevent (if the average is really high it might be a sign of other problems) and you should pick programs based upon how they fit your interests and personality.

    Anyhow, that's just my opinion.

    Good luck,

    Adam
     
  7. atsai3

    atsai3 10+ Year Member

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    mpp:

    Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has a "3 + 3" program with University Hospitals of Cleveland. Only family medicine and (I think) internal medicine are covered -- you apply for the accelerated program during your third year of medical school and enter internship when your classmates are completing fourth year. You don't have to pay fourth year tuition and you get to draw an intern's salary. They get a few applicants every year -- an extremely attractive option given the costs of medical school tuition these days.

    Bikini Princess:

    My earlier post had the caveat of the required acting internship during fourth year. AI in surgery, medicine, or pediatrics pretty much covers a lot of medical students out there. I suspect that 4th year could be extremely rewarding if you ended up wanting to go into a specialty like ophtho, ortho, ENT, etc for which coverage during medical school and the traditional clerkships is minimal -- and you would have to do a visiting elective in one of those fields in order to make an informed decision. By and large, the main reason medical students feel fourth year is so rewarding... is because it's so easy compared to third year.

    Anyway, the point of all this is to suggest that cutting medical school down to 3 years is possible. Not that it's necessarily recommended.

    Cheers
    -a.
     
  8. Resident Alien

    Resident Alien What? 7+ Year Member

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    I believe you still pay tuition for your fourth year. Im not 100% sure.
     
  9. dr kevin40

    dr kevin40 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    cali
    question yall:

    so after one finishes his md/phd track, he needs to do BOTH RESIDENCY AND A POST/DOCC??!!!

    plz enlighten this boy. thanks.
     
  10. jot

    jot

    you can do both - but by then you probably have an idea regarding what route you are heading, and you can tailor it accordingly. most people do either a post-doc or residency, or the new "fast track" residencies with protected reserach time. there are a lot of options - but it is matter of how much time you want to spend. at the end of it you could certainly be dr kevin 40 if you do all possible options.
    -jot
     
  11. none

    none 1K Member 10+ Year Member

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    You don't need to do anything after finishing an MD/PhD program. You can go flip burgers and nobody will care. You do a residency and/or postdoc depending on what you want to do as a career. If you have no interest in ever seeing a patient clinically in life, skip the residency. If you just want to see patients, skip the postdoc. A postdoc is not really a formal process like a residency with a set timeline...it's more of a holding place where you can get some publications out while looking for a tenure track faculty position.
     
  12. dr kevin40

    dr kevin40 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    cali
    anyone else know of short md/ph programs besides duke and columbia just off the top of their heads?

    much appreciated. i'm leaning towards applying to md/phd more and more recently
     
  13. atsai3

    atsai3 10+ Year Member

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    You don't necessarily need to do a post-doc after completing MD/PhD and residency. If you like, you can go straight into a faculty teaching position. One advantage of doing a post-doc is that you can use the one or two years to get a few publications into press before you actually obtain a faculty position. (Once you take a faculty teaching position, the tenure clock starts ticking -- typically 7 years until you go up for review.)

    However, as an MD/PhD student you should be able to get a few publications out before you start residency. (You've got two years of medical school and all of your PhD years to work on papers. The last two years of medical school may be a bit busier, what with clinical responsibilities on the wards and all, but you can just do cleanup and revisions by then.)

    There are many possibilities.

    Cheers,
    -a.
     
  14. energy_girl

    energy_girl 10+ Year Member

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    global community
    The idea of a "short" MD/PhD program is really misleading. Several years ago, two types of programs really did exist, a short and a long. The long programs were like Harvard and UCSF where students stayed in their research years for a loooong time (graduation times averaged around 9-10 years!). These students spend an awful time, but are acknowledged to have a "full" PhD. On the other hand, short programs were those that were widely known to get students out in 6 years or so. However, these so-called MD/PhD programs also only granted students very limited research experience and not a "true" PhD.

    In recent years, MD/PhD or at least MST programs have been more or less standardized so that students do not spend the full 4 years in medical school in addition to a full 5+ years of graduate school work. That's why I don't think it's true that we have any more "short" or "long" MD/PhD programs. Certainly some programs are more well-integrated than others, and some lend themselves easier to an MD/PhD curriculum. Duke, for example, does med school in 3 years, and exemplifies the latter. Keep in mind, however, that Duke students (to the best of my knowledge after interviewing and revisiting there--correct me if I'm wrong, Original) do a full PhD. Conversely, quite a few schools, including Cornell and Wash U, have a more integrated program so that med school classes can count as both med and grad school credit. Add that to 1.5 clinical years, and you will come up with similar graduation times.

    In any case, the reason I wrote all this is to remind you to pick a school based on how much you like it, and not necessarily how long the "average" student takes to graduate. Not only are most programs similar (average 7.5 years), but you will also never know how long YOUR research will take. Some kid at my school finished his research with 2 first-author science papers in 2 years, and graduated in 6, whereas others take 7, 8, years to graduate. Pick a place where you will be happy at, and leave the rest to luck and hard work!

    energy_girl
     
  15. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior 7+ Year Member

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    To answer the initial question:
    I asked Sal Pizzo (Duke MSTP director) the same question when I interviewed, and he told me that other schools are yet to follow suit due to financial reasons. When duke designed it's curriculum 30+ yrs ago (at the very onset of the medschool) it didn't cost much; but to do the same thing today will cost a ridiculous amount. The curriculum was actually designed to fit the needs of the MD/PhD students.
     
  16. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior 7+ Year Member

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    You're right. Despite only 3 yrs in med school, Duke MSTP students consistently finish in 7 yrs (though few in 6). 7.5 yrs is pretty much standardized across the schools and so program duration is not a very distinguishing factor any longer. Except for the couple of schools that still graduate MSTPeeps in 10+ yrs.
     
  17. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior 7+ Year Member

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    I ought to be shot:D . I found out the med school began in ~1930 and this is whne they made the curriculum.
     

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