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hi guys, first post here on pre-MSTP

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by AegisZero, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member
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    Just wanted to say Hi and good luck to all of you in the process. A friend of mine (he is a year older than me) is taking part in the process, and I have recently become interested in it myself (Im a junior in college).

    Im SURE a bunch of these questions have been asked/answered before, but I couldnt find all of them, so sorry if Im making yall repeat yourself.

    1. Most people who do MD/PhD go into academia. But what exactly do they do once they are there. Meaning, what percent of their time do they spend in the clinic, and what percent of the time do they spend in the lab?

    2. How hard is it to get a position in academia with an MD/Phd? I hear its much much better than the standard MD route, but I was wondering if academia is anywhere close to a saturation of MD.PhD.

    3. How long does it really take (4 years med school, 4 years grad school, 3 years residency, 3 years post doc?= 14 years) Or is it more of a 3 years combined post-doc/residency (= 11 years)

    4. Do med schools automatically bump you from the MD/PhD pool into the MD pool if rejected. How have people fared with this. Are these candidates looked upon less favorably than the "pure" MD candidates?

    5. What kind of stats/background do you need for MD/PhD. I know some publications are required, but what about GPA/MCAT/coursework?

    6. What is YOUR reason for doing MD/PhD.

    Thanks a bunch, sorry if this post was sorta long.
     
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  3. DarkChild

    DarkChild Senior Member
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    i'm running late, so I'll just tackle number 4 which is my big beef with these programs.
    a lot of them say that if you dont make the MD/PhD cut, then you're automatically bumped into the MD pool. I'm a reapplicant and last year applied to only MD/PhD programs. The problem is that I didnt feel like I got a fair shake from schools which didnt consider me for the MD/PhD. As I see it, it takes them time to process the MD/PhD application. THen by the time it takes them to drop you, and you're put into the MD pool you are so far behind the rest of the apps that you're at a significant disadvantage. I'll prove it too: this year I'm applying to Harvard/JHU MD only - if I get an interview (and my app hasnt changed really) then it will be proof positive that the system is flawed. :D but if I dont... :oops:
     
  4. nina512

    nina512 Senior Member
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    Just some quick answers for your questions...

    1. Very difficult to do both. usually not a 50/50 split between the clinic and the lab, more like 80/20.

    2. not hard to get a position in academia, treated like a PhD, but maybe can get more funding depending on the clinical revelance of the research.

    3. Schooling takes an avg of 7 years, but with research you never know. Most schools try to get their MSTP students out within a reasonable period of time. AFter graduating, you can do a residency (3-6 yrs) depending on what field, then you can do a research fellowship during that time OR jump right into a post-doc position (length can vary) In most cases, you have to decide what you'd rather do with your time (clinical or bench work)

    4. not all med schools do. Applying to MSTP at U of Chicago precludes your accpetance to their medical school. Meaning...after getting rejected from MSTP you aren't thrown into the normal applicant pool. However, most schools do roll you over into the MD pile after being rejected from MSTP.

    5. Usually above average, but don't let it keep you from applying, especially you have a strong research background (pubs)

    6. I love learning.
     
  5. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    1. nina is right. There are very few people who balance clincal and basic science research at the 50/50 level. That usually involves treating patients with a specific disease and then going and asking basic science questions behind that disease. This is my goal in my career, however I recognize that clinical responsibility often interferes with and can become divergent from basic research. You have to pick which is more important to you, but remember that MSTP programs are primarily looking to train academics and not clinicians with a small research component.

    2. If you want to get a position at a major research university, you will likely do a post-doc like any other PhD. MD/PhDs nonetheless are still in a good deal of demand and funding comes to those who are doing applicable research. MD/PhDs are in the unique position of being able to sell their specialized PhD work to an audience who wants to know how it ties into medicine.

    3. Depends. MSTP programs generally average closer to 8 years, not 7, so plan on that. Then residency, 3 - 7 years, post-doc 3-5 years... It's a lengthy amount of time...

    4. Usually, yes. Some schools actually require MD acceptance BEFORE MD/PhD acceptance (URochester for example). Usually, you will not be looked upon unfavorably because you were kicked down from MSTP, but I think a big factor in this is time. If you were on hold for interview or waitlisted, you may not be looked at by the med school until very late or never at all.

    5. Publications are NOT, I repeat NOT required for MSTP. GPA, MCAT, coursework varies across the board. My general rule of thumb is that almost everyone's app is weak in something. But if you have 2 out of 3 things going for you of GPA, MCAT, and research experience (including any publication), you should be in good shape. My weakness is my research experience, and I have been doing well in this whole admissions game so far.

    6. I want to understand and develop treatments for diseases that we currently do not have understandings or treatments for. I have seen what medical technology can do for people, as both of my parents were very ill as I was growing up and a whole slew of genetic conditions run in my family. These experiences I've had growing with my family have impacted my life greatly and have pushed me in this direction.
     
  6. nina512

    nina512 Senior Member
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    Oh Neuronix, I hope you're right.

    My weakness is my GPA :eek:
    Maybe my MCAT ...:eek: :confused: :eek:


    re: #3
    I read an article somewhere that the track record for MD/PhDs are great. They usually attain faculty positions in less time than PhDs, and usually all end up as well funded PIs.

    Wish I could find it...
     
  7. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member
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    What is a competitive GPA/MCAT, and what is a great GPA/MCAT?

    I know for MD its 3.6/33 or 3.8/36. How much higher for MD/PhD.

    What are the WORST reasons to want to do MD/PhD?
     
  8. jot

    jot

    if you want to be competitive for the tippy top programs i would try to swing a 35 and a 3.7 or something. again - its the research and other EC's - and interveiw that really get you in though.

    worst reasons would be for the money - cause there isn't much in it. unless you want to go into i-banking after hah - it would be a long arduous and uncessacry path though.

    bad reason would be just for the prestige of 2 degrees - it may have been bada$$ a couple decades ago, but with so many of us infiltrating the system ... also if you want the austere you can do it by being an awesome clinician or great researcher.

    if you're not into people and science it may not be for you either ... ;)
     
  9. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    Competitive depends on too many factors (URM, exceptional research, gender, etc...). What jot says sounds good for a non-URM male.

    The worst reason to do a MD/PhD is if you're just in it for a free MD and you want to go purely clinical after med school. Sure people are allowed to change their minds, but I know people who are doing this. The program was not intended for this, and you will be losing around 4 years of your life doing research you're never going to use. The math has been done, if you only want an MD, you'll make more in your lifetime getting an MD from a private school and going into a specialty than an MD/PhD would going into that same specialty due to the years lost.
     
  10. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member
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    So if you end up doing an 80/20 split of MD/PhD work (or vice versa), does the benefit of the dual degree come from the fact that it is easier to get grants and have a position in academia? Im just sorta confused on how most MD/PhDs get both degrees, but end up predominantly using one.

    If it helps, Im interested in a career in oncology/hematology, studying new molecular methods for better screening for cancers. But I still want to see patients predominantly, I just want to apply what I learn from the clinical setting to the bench, and use what I discover at the bench in the clinic.

    Thanks a bunch for all your help guys!
     
  11. exigente chica

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    Me too ninga:(

    Question, someone mentioned something about URM? I was under the impression that status didn't matter when it came to MSTP appliants, is this true does anyone know? I haven't seen that many on the websites either?

    No flaming here, just a question
     
  12. nina512

    nina512 Senior Member
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    All I've seen is the usual...you know we recruit...blah, blah, blah, equal opportunity, do not discriminate paragraph.

    However, some schools have stated that they encourage women and minorities to apply. Hmmmm, could be that URM does OR does not matter. It usually says this somewhere on the programs web site.

    -nina
     
  13. Doctor&Geek

    Doctor&Geek 25 > 5 / 15 < 8
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    http://www.nigms.nih.gov/news/reports/mstpstudy/mstpstudy.html

    You were asking? :D

    Also, there is a segment of money that goes ONLY to physician scientists that PhD's will have little opportunity to access, which is why MD/PhD'ers can get more grant money.

    According to the NIGMS study, MD/PhD'ers reach Full Professor level at the same time as people who get their MDs or PhDs only.

    Most surprisingly, I've heard that MD/PhD'ers are now part of an educational arms race to get into the most competitive residencies. For example, neurosurgery programs at Duke, UCSF, and Emory now almost require the dual degree, and also at UCSF, it is required that you Publish Scientific Papers, without which you cannot advance in residency standing!

    Yours,

    Jason
     
  14. nina512

    nina512 Senior Member
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    Thanks JPaikman!

    That was one of the first articles I could find that helped explain the MD/PhD thing...its been a while since I read it! :D
     
  15. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    If you are interested in MD/PhD programs, please be sure to check out Jason's site (link below his signature).

    You might also want to take a look at my online MD/PhD applicant guidebook at:

    http://go.to/mdphd

    Good luck! :D
     
  16. STi555

    STi555 Senior Member
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    Neuronix,

    when you say your research experience is weak how much have you done? I have just started to consider an MD/Ph.D program, but I don't have very much research. However, I have a great GPA/MCAT.

    I did a quarter long research project creating a line of T-cells. I spent a month on a clinical reseach project and I have a job/internship at a national lab lined up for next quarter and this summer. Is this enough research? Will a high GPA & MCAT (like 3.9 & 40) offset this limited amount of research?
     
  17. Sonya

    Sonya Senior Member
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    you can't give justice to either if you spend 50 % time on it (< 30 hrs/week). Thus, you need to focus on only one, so you can become reasonably good.
     
  18. STi555

    STi555 Senior Member
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    I am also debating if I want to persue a M.D./Ph.D. for this reason. (Well, the other factor is if I even have a shot of getting in or if applying is just a waste of my time.) If I mainly want to practice it seems that I should just get an M.D. If I am more interested in research I can see that having the M.D. in addition to the Ph.D. could be useful, but is it really worth the extra years? I don't mean to bash on M.D./Ph.Ds; I am honestly trying to figure out if it is something I want to persue.
     
  19. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    I would advise that you should go the MD/PhD route only if you have a strong interest in basic biomedical research and plan to spend a significant portion of your time on research in the future. If you plan to focus on the clinical side of things in terms of medicine and clinical research, it is probably better to go the MD route and get involved in some research projects while in medical school that relate to your interests.

    Hope this helps. :D
     
  20. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    It is a common misconception that you are using one degree or the other if you do either medicine or research. The value of going through an MD/PhD program is that having experience in both clinical medicine and scientific investigation provides you with unique insight into complex biological problems that have strong medical relevance. In addition, I'd argue that the PhD can help you in medicine in several ways... scientific reasoning can be quite helpful in medical decision making, you'll start to see potential research questions spring up through clinical observations, and you'll be better equiped to search the biomedical literature and more well-read in terms of the basic research that can offer some degree of hope to patients.

    I think the key is to find medical interests that fit tightly into your research goals. It may work the other way around too... during residency you may see certain patients that will generate exciting research questions that can only be answered by bench-top investigation. Often, MD/PhDs will carve out a niche by making themselves an expert in a particular area. This allows one to focus both in terms of clinical practice (i.e. you see specific types of patients) and in the laboratory (i.e. you investigate related basic biomedical problems).

    For anyone applying MD/PhD, it is good to give your goals a great deal of thought. It will help you through interviews and it will prove invaluable in maintaining your focus throughout medical and graduate school.
     

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