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Interested in practicing and teaching...

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by southpawcannon, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. southpawcannon

    7+ Year Member

    Dec 14, 2006
    Likes Received:
    I've considered a career in practicing medicine and at some point in time teaching at a medical school and/or affiliated teaching hospital. What are the paths that one usually takes to get to the academia side of medicine? Do you have to obtain a PhD on top of your MD or is simply kicking ass along with knowing people who know people the way it works?
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  3. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it
    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Mar 30, 2001
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    All of the above.

    For the most part, here at University of California, as a professor (full or associate), you are expected to be:

    (1) National and/or international leader in your field of study

    (2) Actively doing research and coming up with new things.

    Which pretty much comes down to publications. So as the saying goes "publish or perish". Having a PhD is certainly not required, but many, if not all med school professors have large amounts of research. They gained this through fellowships, internships, masters or PhD programs.

    Doing a 1-2 year post-doc is not required, but rarely do people get into a faculty position right after a PhD program. MDs may be a tad different since they always teach, but to be appointed as a tenure-tracked professor, then you should have a good foundation in research. This makes the university comfortable with you making money for them. Thats what it really comes down to.

    Might also help to see if you have a good track record at getting funding (e.g., NSF, NIH, etc). Experience is key in his arena. The more publications you have, the more talks you do, and so forth, the more people will know about you. This would be the driving force which gets you into a good position in acadamia. Good times.
  4. burntcrispy

    burntcrispy Member
    5+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2006
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    Fellow [Any Field]
    You do not need a PhD. The people with MD/PhD usually do more bench research than clinical practice. Medical school (espeically MD programs) will prepare you well enough to do research. Some residencies and most fellowships have manditory research. So, don't worry about it. It is not difficult to land an accademic job. The majority of physicians go into private practice due to the huge discrepancy in pay between private practice and academia. Even if you go into private practice you can always go back and take a job in academics. These are actually my favorite faculty in my residency because they have seen medicine from both sides and seem to be a bit more well rounded in their practice.

    For now, focus on Grades and MCAT. You are in for the time of your life!!

    Burntcrispy, MD
  5. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2003
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    In reality, a lot of the teachers in medical school are not doing it out of choice - they have to do it by virtue of their academic appointment. In the first year of medical school, it's usually PhDs teaching, and more MDs in the second year.

    Keep in mind that a PhD does not 'teach the holder how to teach', but the PhD training does give the MD/PhD instructor something extra that, in my opinion, medical students can only benefit from compared to being taught only by MDs or only by PhDs.

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