Originally posted by nuclearrabbit77
i am going through the same process of deciding whether the ph.d is necessary. the fact that i took a couple years out of school before applying, (24 years old/M1), doing an mstp (7-8 years, at northwestern avg is 8), and residency (3-7)..i'd be an old croney by the time i finished. the biggest deterrent for me was simply based off the length and the fact that i don't want to be 40 when i'm done "training".
the other factor that was in consideration was that i have interest in several different surgical subspecialties. i think in these fields, there is even less return for the ph.d component.
i am still involved in research, and in fact, i am doing more than the mstp's in my class right now.
i'm working part time in a lab while going to school, i did a fellowship the summer before school started, and i have 2 years of research (with publications and abstracts) before i started medical school. although my experience and training won't be as significant as somebody who has gone through the ph.d, i hope that the lab experiences that i am getting now, (and ones that i will pursue later), will be sufficient in giving me the capabilities and confidence to direct research.
there are numerous opportunities to pursue research, even if you aren't an mstp. there are NIH summer fellowships, university sponsored fellowships, the howard hughes fellowship for medical students, howard hughes fellowship - Cloiver, and, even probably more significantly, post-resident research fellowships.
the reason why i feel that post-resident research fellowships are more significant, is because at that point of your career, you know what specialty you are, and your research interests are probably more mature than when you are younger.
you could end up doing a ph.d in a field that may be quite unrelated to the specialty or research pursuits you may have later.
(i do have an opinion about how much money you are "saving").
each year that you are doing your ph.d, is time that you are "working", so if you calculate 3-4 years of an avg physicians salary, that'd be more than the cost of medical school.
i was talking to an md at hopkins who was trained at havrad and is doing excellent research about this. ither are countless examples of "only" md's that have done some amazing research, naming a huge list wouldn't take longer (varmus,kendel .......). but it seems like those people are just the type of people that would have gone the mstp route had it been emphasized then.