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MD/PhD vs. research fellowship? (Infectious disease focus)

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by Kraazy, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. Kraazy

    7+ Year Member

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    Can anyone give me some advice regarding the value of an MD/PhD vs. plain MD followed by a fellowship in Infectious disease?

    I am currently considering and MD/PhD in Epidemiology, which would prepare me to conduct epidemiological research. I've looked at a few post-MD fellowships in ID, and they combine both clinical training and research. At this point, I feel like I'll have to do an ID fellowship anyway for the clinical training, so would it still be worth doing the PhD? Also, the fellowship would have me doing research with other MDs whereas in grad school I would be mostly with PhDs so this may affect the focus of the training I get, and how useful it would be in the end. What is the difference in terms of competitiveness between MD/PhD and fellowships?

    I hope to be able to combine patient care and clinical research in ID, hopefully in international settings.

    Someone help, please!
     
  2. Circumflex

    Circumflex Junior Member
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    Most medical schools offer a MD/MPH (Master of Public Health), for which you take the MPH classes at night or in place of electives, so it does not add extra years to med school. I have a MPH. You do not need a PhD in Epidemiology to do clinical research and given your intended path, I don't think it would be of much value vs. the time and energy of taking time off and writing a dissertation.

    You don't even need the MPH, but it is a convenient way to acquire more knowledege in epidemiology and biostatistics while getting an extra degree. After med school, you are looking at 3 years of Int. Med. (maybe 2 if you are able to do a fast-track residency) + 3 years of ID frellowship. In the end, as an MD, you can do whatever kind of research you want and will not have spent extra years in med school.
     
  3. gbwillner

    gbwillner Pastafarian
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    :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

    Don't waste your time getting a PhD if you're going to do clinical research.
     
  4. greg12345

    greg12345 New Member
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    Forget the PhD if you are going to do clinical research, take an extra year and get an MPH during med school (maybe between 3rd and 4th year if your school offers it). You really don't need the MPH either as long as you get a good research mentor as a fellow.
     
  5. Rocky22

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    If you see yourself in the future as someone who is running clinical studies in an international setting, then a PhD in epidemiology would be very useful. If you want to work more as a doctor in an international setting with a little research on the side, then a better plan is to get a mph or take a year off during medical school to do international work.

    During your fellowship, you would not necessarily be doing research with other MDs. I know several ID fellows doing research in groups that are primarily PhDs. Epidemiology and clinical research can be picked up during your fellowship but it is a challenge, especially since you will probably need to take several statistics classes.

    Good luck!
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Kraazy

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    I actually do want to conduct research internationally, so I'm leaning for the MD/PhD.

    Thanks everyone!
     

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