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blueberry

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Since no has started this thread yet...

I'm seriously considering doing a MD then PhD. Does anybody know how hard it (realistically) is to gain admissions to a high quality PhD program after you finish your MD and are there actually any successful examples? Do they look down on you since you've already finished your MD and especially if you went through your residency etc. wouldn't they think you're committed to medicine already (hence hard to justify that you need a PhD)?

Any advice is appreciated...
 

Primate

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I doubt that there'd be alot of bias against you from the PhD programs. Your success will depend more on you than your training (always true).

If you haven't started either yet, do a joint program (even if you don't get in to a combined degree off the mark, most grad programs are happy to take med students between years 2 and 3 for the PhD - just apply once you're in, from within). It's just easier this way.

Best 'o luck.
 

pathdr2b

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Thanks for starting this thread.

I work around a number of MD's (Pathologist) at NIH that are going back for their PhD's. I can tell you from what I've seen (I also know an MD (Internal Medicine) at GW doing a PhD in Oncology), that getting into a PhD program with an MD is a piece of cake. Most times, courses form your MD program will transfer and you probably won't have to take the GRE. Also, MD's finish their PhD's in record time (avg 2-3 years from what I've seen becasue you usually come in needing to only take and pass you orals, writtens, and defend your proposed project) and in general don't get treated like crap like most other graduate students.

I plan to get the PhD after the MD, and the reason this is sound for me is because I'm 99.999% I know the type of doctor I want to be. Also, Pathology is one of the less "stressful" residencies and has no internship year so there will be time to complete a research project which is required for most programs anyway. Now if I were interested in any other area of medicine like surgery, then I'd go the MD/PhD route because I'd imagine getting a PhD while completing a surgical residency would be hell.

I think if your young (<25), and you haven't had a ton of exposure to the various fileds in medicine, then you'd be better off in a combined MD/PhD porgram. But if you're old like me (almost 40),have familiy responsibilities, and know the area you're interested in, the PhD after the MD may work for you. It really is an individual thing.

Good luck!
 
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blueberry

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Thanks for the replies.

I did apply to a few MSTP programs. Got rejected from one (but accepted for MD), still waiting to hear from the 2 others. But now I'm debating whether or not to take on MD first, then do the PhD later on (even if I do end up getting into MSTP, which I doubt, since my qualifications aren't very high and those 2 schools are CA schools--very competitive). My primary interest is becoming a medical doctor, so that's why I wish to finish MD first. And yes, I am fairly young (just got out of undergrad) but I"m afraid I won't get into MSTP...

But--I've always been very interested in research and am heavily leaning towards the clinical research route, and that is why i'm interested in pursing PhD as well. Unfortunately I haven't had much clinical research exposure (all the research I have done is basic science, or research on cancer with mouse models, but no clnical trials at present).

Is there any particular reason why there are so many pathologists pursuing a PhD? (I guess I don't quite see the connection). Researching on a certain pathogen and doing a study on it (i.e. going on the academia route at NIH??)
 

pathdr2b

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Originally posted by blueberry
Is there any particular reason why there are so many pathologists pursuing a PhD? (I guess I don't quite see the connection). Researching on a certain pathogen and doing a study on it (i.e. going on the academia route at NIH??)

Thsi of course is my own take on what pathologist do based on spending one semester working on a PhD in Pathology and working around a ton of MD and MD/Phd pathologist.

Pathology is not just the study of infectious disease/pathogens, it's the study of the causes and mechanisms of the disease process and it also includes chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. It's broken down into 2 general areas AP or Anatomic Pathology (ie autopsies) and CP or Clinical Pathology (ie bone marrow biopsy). Most pathologist in research pursue either AP alone or AP/CP. There are also many subspeciaities in pathology like Dermopathology, Neuropathology, and Forensic Pathology.

There are various instrumentation/laboratory techiniques used in pathology, including molecular genetics ( ie PCR, DNA sequencing) , protein biochemistry ( ie SDS-PAGE, Western Blotting) and newer techniques like laser microdissection (which was developed by my department chariman;) . Of course there's the tried and true in pathology immumohistochemistry/ H & E.

So as you can see, there's quite a lot of science that can be done in pathology. Here's a web site you may interesting: http://www.asip.org/career/clin.htm

Finally, doctors ( Urologist, Internist/Oncologist) will often consult with a Pathologist ( who actually reads the slides from biopsies) to discuss treatment options for patients diagnosed with malignacies and other types benign but potentially serious tumors. Therefore, pathologist are at the forefront in the treatment of diseases like cancer since it's their diagnosis that sets the stage for treatment options.

Okay, Okay, I'm just a little biased/excited about the field...................
 

Joe N

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My personal opinion is to reconsider this idea. If you want an MD PhD and don't get in, re-apply. There is a good deal of attrition at msot institutions and you could join the program after M1. Next look into Howard Hughes research fellowships during/post med school. If you can't do those consider a basic science research oriented fellowship after you complete your residency. (Monetary difference as a paid fellow is approx 75,000 vs grad student approx 20,000-- remeber you will probably have a hefty medschool loan too). Once you are an MD, you are a professional and can do anything! It may be tougher to find the training you need, but it won't be that tough, and there are few MDs willing to sacrifice salary for further basic science training. You do not need a PhD to do awesome basic science research. You just need to be trained, dedicated, and work hard. As for successes, they may exist, but I have never met a clinically practicing MD that went back to grad school to do a PhD.

Joe
 

pathdr2b

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Originally posted by Joe N
(Monetary difference as a paid fellow is approx 75,000 vs grad student approx 20,000-- remeber you will probably have a hefty medschool loan too).

Common, give me a break... With all due respect, I've NEVER met an MD that went back to get a PhD that didn't also have clinical duties. This alone means that they will earn more than 20K because they'll be doing double duty as a Clinician/Student. In fact the ones here at NIH, are called Clinical Fellows = Physician dutes + research responsibilities.
 

Joe N

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I see your point. We're actually arguing the same thing, I just haven't seen fellowships that allow for defined PhD programs. I have seen PhD programs attached to residencies- but that sounds more like a masters to me, and it is always conferred by a clinical department. I still think that most fellows just do the research and don't bother with the PhD. Sounds like it's different in Path. I'm curious as to what the advantages of getting the degree at that point ina career are- after all, you already have an MD. I would think the focus at that point is research, writing grants/funding, and publishing, not grinding out another degree.

Joe
 

pathdr2b

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Originally posted by Joe N
I see your point. We're actually arguing the same thing, I just haven't seen fellowships that allow for defined PhD programs. I'm curious as to what the advantages of getting the degree at that point ina career are- after all, you already have an MD. I would think the focus at that point is research, writing grants/funding, and publishing, not grinding out another degree.
Joe

I don't think I've seen fellowships/PhD programs either , per se. But one of my collegues in the lab is planning to do just that and she has the support of our boss.

I can't speak for anyone else about their motivations for getting a PhD after the MD but for me it's about a few things namely, I just happen to love research and I want to finish what I've already started.
 

noy

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There is an MD at my dept. who is working on a PhD. He has no clinical duties. He started out wanting MSTP, didnt get it, then worked towards the MD and decided after a few years of residency that a PhD was the right thing. Since he has completed an intern year, he could moonlight in a hospital or such. I never asked about funding, but I assume he is funded like any other grad student.

It can be done, he is doing very well, and will have a unique set of training when its all over (as well as some HEFTY loans).
 

Mediculous

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There are programs designed specifically for a post-M.D. Ph.D.--check out the STAR program at UCLA, for example.
www.star.med.ucla.edu/

The reasoning behind this type of program is the same behind any M.D./Ph.D. program-- that the problem-solving skills developed from bench research combined with medical knowledge will lead to unique, patient-oriented research (for the most part; pure basic science is not the intention, however, it happens) that lends benefits to both time spent in clinic and time spent at the bench. Some programs are designed solely to get an M.D. to gain lab experience and foster the skills aquired with research, while others go all the way and do the aforementioned with the addition of meeting Ph.D.-awarding criteria. Either way, the point is that the clinical approach will change how you approach your bench work and vice versa, all being achieved by the exposure to both sides of medical science. Research and clinical practice are complementary. That's why people do it, even though they won't be raking it in, like their clinical-only counterparts. The physician-scientist gets to channel their frustration at medical efficacy boundaries into patient-oriented research. Tell me, WHAT could be better?
 

ducaliner2

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Yale also has an Investigative Medicine Program which is a PhD granting program specifically for folks who have their MDs and are working in clinical departments:

http://info.med.yale.edu/invmed/index.html

Supposedly they promise a 3-4 year PhD duration (which is very short for PhDs these days, on avg it is 7-8 years in the US).

Good luck!
 

tofurious

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You need to do a little more digging. Like a couple of posters mentioned above, research during residency is possible (and is not limited to the two schools above; check out the internal medicine-research track and other clinical investigator programs). Alternatively, Howard Hughes is a great option, and some med schools (Stanford for example) offer a scholars program that gives you one year of paid research under their own faculty mentorship with the obvious option of extending that into a PhD. Your interests are likely to change in med school, and perhaps once you start you will like clinical or epidemiologic research more than bench research. Keeping your options open is always a great way to go.
 

mentoz

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My professor went to the Baylor College of Medicine, then went onto Harvard to get his PhD after his residency. He teaches, practices, and is an X-ray crystallographer. I know nothing more, nothing less .. but coincidentally, I'm visiting him today to ask for his advice. I'm sort of in the same boat. I got accepted to UCLA's MD/PhD program, but UCSF's MD program. I admit that I am uncertain of what direction I want to take (my only requirement was that I help people in some way with the best of my abilities, simple enough) .. I just don't have enough experience to know exactly how I want to do it. I'll send back any info from my prof :D
 

cmz

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Originally posted by mentoz
My professor went to the Baylor College of Medicine, then went onto Harvard to get his PhD after his residency. He teaches, practices, and is an X-ray crystallographer. I know nothing more, nothing less .. but coincidentally, I'm visiting him today to ask for his advice. I'm sort of in the same boat. I got accepted to UCLA's MD/PhD program, but UCSF's MD program. I admit that I am uncertain of what direction I want to take (my only requirement was that I help people in some way with the best of my abilities, simple enough) .. I just don't have enough experience to know exactly how I want to do it. I'll send back any info from my prof :D

I am a current MS3 who decided to jump into the PhD game (really late). I looked at my situation from a variety of different angles, and I was afraid that if I got more "wet bench" training post-residency, perhaps my skills as a clinician would be less than adequate when I finished my PhD. I don't know of a "perfect" solution to all of this, but I am banking on the more traditional, MSTP-way. I think, for me, the deciding factor was definately what my long-term career goals were. It seems a lot of posters here will not complete a residency training program after they finish their medical studies.
 

pathdr2b

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Originally posted by cmz
It seems a lot of posters here will not complete a residency training program after they finish their medical studies.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I do plan to complete a residency in Anatomic Pathology and my PhD in molecular Pathology , concurrently.

This actually brings up a very good point, I wonder how "valuable" is the MD is for a physician who doens't complete a residency, yet wants to do research? New thread topic!:D
 

BiochemMan

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Has anyone in this forum began medical school and then decided to do a PhD following the second year (not an entry MD/PhD or DO/PhD)? If so, how hard was it to find a school that will allow you to transfer into it for the PhD years (if not your own school)? Also, how did the tuition, stipend, etc. work out?

Thanks...
 
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