IM - Research tract

sschance

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2010
44
9
  1. Medical Student
    Hey all,

    Apologies if this is not the right place to ask. I searched around the forum, but was unable to get a clear picture to my question.

    I looked at some IM programs, and some of them provide research tract for their IM residents.

    I am curious what population of applicants usually get these positions? I assume there are a high % of MD/PhDs, but what about candidates with MD only? How competitive do MD-only candidates need to be to get these positions (however much stats you can share)? In addition, where would I find more info?

    Thank you for your time!
     

    justin1390

    Full Member
    5+ Year Member
    Mar 15, 2012
    118
    99
    1. Resident [Any Field]
      It depends on the size of the tract and how you get into it. Many programs have tracts that you don't split off to until your second year, and thus you have a year to think about it, apply, and get accepted while an intern. Other programs get you in pretty quick. The people looking strongly at fellowship or with past experience in research MD/PhD are going to be the most competitive, but let's face it, even a moderately sized program will maybe have 1 or two of these candidates a year, and they may be burnt out on research.

      Because these programs are highly specific to the residency, you need to wait until interview season or inquire personally about these programs. On the plus side, if you do inquire (without being pesky), you might actually land yourself an interview since you have already shown interest. Just an idea. Be polite and tactful! :) Good luck!
       
      • Like
      Reactions: 1 user
      About the Ads

      NotAProgDirector

      Pastafarians Unite!
      Staff member
      Volunteer Staff
      Verified Expert
      15+ Year Member
      Oct 11, 2006
      9,355
      11,453
      1. Attending Physician
        Back on track here:

        I have this conversation with several applicants each year. In general, you need a PhD to be in the research track -- or at least a solid research Masters. Here's why:

        First of all, the research track is not a "fast track". It's one year LONGER than just doing the fellowship. You trade your PGY-3 IM clinical year for 2 years of research. The fellowship remains the same length. If you can get hired into a research position in your home institution, you can finish one year earlier on the research track -- which is exactly where you would have finished doing it the regular way.

        Second, the usual structure of the research track is 2 years IM + 2 years research + 1-2 years clinical fellowship + 1 year research. Occasionally, if your research is going to require clinical specimens / procedures, you'll do one year of research in the PGY-3, then the fellowship, then 2 years of research at the end. So, after those two middle years, you'll apply for a K award which you want to win by the time you get to that last year of research. This means that you need to produce encouraging results in those 2 years, enough to garner a K. You need to hit the ground running to make that work, and that usually requires a PhD or similar level of research experience first.

        I talk more people out of the research track than those that go in. Once you start, you can't stop -- or if you do stop, you need to come back and complete your PGY-3 IM year.
         
        • Like
        Reactions: 3 users

        visari

        Full Member
        5+ Year Member
        Sep 14, 2013
        410
        196
        1. Attending Physician
          1) Do you want to be a physician scientist (i.e spend most of your time running a lab)?
          2) Do you have the means to be a physician scientist (PhD, masters, extensive lab research experience, grant writing...etc)?
          3) Do you understand the difficulties nowadays in starting up a career as a physician scientist?

          In my opinion, you need to answer with a resounding YES to the above three questions before considering a CI track
           

          sschance

          Full Member
          10+ Year Member
          Mar 12, 2010
          44
          9
          1. Medical Student
            lmao, sorry I used "track" wrong. It was pretty late, and embarrassingly didn't catch it.

            It depends on the size of the tract and how you get into it. Many programs have tracts that you don't split off to until your second year, and thus you have a year to think about it, apply, and get accepted while an intern. Other programs get you in pretty quick. The people looking strongly at fellowship or with past experience in research MD/PhD are going to be the most competitive, but let's face it, even a moderately sized program will maybe have 1 or two of these candidates a year, and they may be burnt out on research.

            Because these programs are highly specific to the residency, you need to wait until interview season or inquire personally about these programs. On the plus side, if you do inquire (without being pesky), you might actually land yourself an interview since you have already shown interest. Just an idea. Be polite and tactful! :) Good luck!

            Thank you! This is very helpful. I have a master's, and was considering taking a year out for HHMI (if i can get it). Do you think it is worth it to go into research?



            Back on track here:

            I have this conversation with several applicants each year. In general, you need a PhD to be in the research track -- or at least a solid research Masters. Here's why:

            First of all, the research track is not a "fast track". It's one year LONGER than just doing the fellowship. You trade your PGY-3 IM clinical year for 2 years of research. The fellowship remains the same length. If you can get hired into a research position in your home institution, you can finish one year earlier on the research track -- which is exactly where you would have finished doing it the regular way.

            Second, the usual structure of the research track is 2 years IM + 2 years research + 1-2 years clinical fellowship + 1 year research. Occasionally, if your research is going to require clinical specimens / procedures, you'll do one year of research in the PGY-3, then the fellowship, then 2 years of research at the end. So, after those two middle years, you'll apply for a K award which you want to win by the time you get to that last year of research. This means that you need to produce encouraging results in those 2 years, enough to garner a K. You need to hit the ground running to make that work, and that usually requires a PhD or similar level of research experience first.

            I talk more people out of the research track than those that go in. Once you start, you can't stop -- or if you do stop, you need to come back and complete your PGY-3 IM year.

            Apologies for the ignorance, but are K awards "relatively easy" to come by? I was reading around and it seemed like the research arena really needs physician-scientists.


            1) Do you want to be a physician scientist (i.e spend most of your time running a lab)?
            2) Do you have the means to be a physician scientist (PhD, masters, extensive lab research experience, grant writing...etc)?
            3) Do you understand the difficulties nowadays in starting up a career as a physician scientist?

            In my opinion, you need to answer with a resounding YES to the above three questions before considering a CI track

            1) yes
            2) maybe, I have stronger background than most medstudents, but i am not sure if it is enough - but def not on PhD level for sure.
            3) no, please do explain!

            I did the Research Track.

            Don't do the Research Track.
            What happened, mang??? you sound traumatized.
             

            visari

            Full Member
            5+ Year Member
            Sep 14, 2013
            410
            196
            1. Attending Physician
              1) yes
              2) maybe, I have stronger background than most medstudents, but i am not sure if it is enough - but def not on PhD level for sure.
              3) no, please do explain!

              It goes without explaining. Starting up your lab and keeping the funds is an uphill battle. A lot of well established labs are struggling so you need something really solid to compete out there. Also I don't know where you are in your training but if you're asking if the K awards are easy to come by, you have a whole lot of research to do before you commit yourself to any track.
               

              gutonc

              No Meat, No Treat
              Staff member
              Administrator
              Volunteer Staff
              Verified Expert
              15+ Year Member
            • Mar 6, 2005
              20,059
              14,909
              1. Attending Physician
                What happened, mang??? you sound traumatized.
                The reality of basic research funding happened.

                After 2 years of grant rejections and working twice as hard as my clinical colleagues for 1/4 of what they made, I learned to love clinical medicine. And still do.
                 

                NotAProgDirector

                Pastafarians Unite!
                Staff member
                Volunteer Staff
                Verified Expert
                15+ Year Member
                Oct 11, 2006
                9,355
                11,453
                1. Attending Physician
                  lApologies for the ignorance, but are K awards "relatively easy" to come by? I was reading around and it seemed like the research arena really needs physician-scientists.

                  Shoot, I meant to mention this in my response so thanks for pointing it out. No, K awards are a nightmare to get. That's why you need a PhD first, so that you have any hope of getting enough done in 2 years to get a K. And even with that, it's very difficult.
                   
                  • Like
                  Reactions: 1 user

                  gutonc

                  No Meat, No Treat
                  Staff member
                  Administrator
                  Volunteer Staff
                  Verified Expert
                  15+ Year Member
                • Mar 6, 2005
                  20,059
                  14,909
                  1. Attending Physician
                    Shoot, I meant to mention this in my response so thanks for pointing it out. No, K awards are a nightmare to get. That's why you need a PhD first, so that you have any hope of getting enough done in 2 years to get a K. And even with that, it's very difficult.

                    K awards are super easy to get...in comparison to R01s. Depending on the institute you submit to, you're looking at somewhere between a 15 and 25% chance of funding overall. This is about double your chances of scoring an R01.
                     
                    • Like
                    Reactions: 1 user

                    NotAProgDirector

                    Pastafarians Unite!
                    Staff member
                    Volunteer Staff
                    Verified Expert
                    15+ Year Member
                    Oct 11, 2006
                    9,355
                    11,453
                    1. Attending Physician
                      K awards are super easy to get...in comparison to R01s. Depending on the institute you submit to, you're looking at somewhere between a 15 and 25% chance of funding overall. This is about double your chances of scoring an R01.

                      Apparently your definition of "super easy" and mine are different. Agreed that K's are a walk in the park compared to R01's. But a 25% chance of getting the funding you need vs begging a dept chair vs your research career is over isn't great. Anyway, my point was that if you want a realistic chance of getting a K, you need to be super productive during your 2 years of research and that usually requires a PhD prior so that you can continue the work you've already done, or can hit the ground running.

                      EDIT: Crap, just re-read your answer and realized that's what you meant. Sorry!
                       

                      gutonc

                      No Meat, No Treat
                      Staff member
                      Administrator
                      Volunteer Staff
                      Verified Expert
                      15+ Year Member
                    • Mar 6, 2005
                      20,059
                      14,909
                      1. Attending Physician
                        Apparently your definition of "super easy" and mine are different. Agreed that K's are a walk in the park compared to R01's. But a 25% chance of getting the funding you need vs begging a dept chair vs your research career is over isn't great. Anyway, my point was that if you want a realistic chance of getting a K, you need to be super productive during your 2 years of research and that usually requires a PhD prior so that you can continue the work you've already done, or can hit the ground running.

                        EDIT: Crap, just re-read your answer and realized that's what you meant. Sorry!
                        ;)
                        And I think 25% is a significant overestimation.
                         
                        About the Ads
                        This thread is more than 5 years old.

                        Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

                        1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
                        2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                        3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                        4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
                        5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
                        6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                        7. This thread is locked.