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Why is PharmD not considered by NIH?
 
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BidingMyTime

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Hi guys,
First time poster here. I'm currently in my last year at Univ of Buffalo undergrad and wanted to apply to different schools of pharmacy that offered dual PharmD/PhD programs. Just one observation - feel free to chime in SDN'ers, why is it that almost every MD/PhD, DO/PhD, DDS/PhD, DMD/PhD allows the students to forego the tuition covering the professional degree (as long as the dual degrees are completed), but ALL PharmD/PhD programs DON'T cover the PharmD, i.e. professional phase of the program? Is the PharmD profession THAT diluted? Is pharmacy not considered "elite" enough to grant students the appropriate funding (from the respective University/academic program?)
Good question, I don't know, but my guess is its the opposite of the field being diluted. Regardless of reality, pharmacy still has a reputation of "getting paid 6 digits to count pills", so the school probably thinks people will be willing to pay any amount for such a "cushy" job, so there is no incentive for the school to waive the tuition. Where as, the other jobs have a reputation for being "hard" jobs, so schools waive the tuition to attract people who are willing to do both "hard" programs at the same time.
 

mustang sally

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That is a good question. I'm wondering if some part of your tuition isn't waived, though. For instance, maybe you pay for P1-P4 years and then you have a couple of strictly PhD years afterwards where the tuition is waived.

I guess I also have a hard time believing that you can get your entire medical school tuition waived just because you do a PhD. Professional school is expensive. Again it seems more reasonable to think you would get a couple years free at the end (while working as a research or teaching assistant). But I'm not that familiar with how dual degree pathways work, so who knows.
 

genesis09

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You will have PharmD years and PhD years. When in the latter you can be a TA and it will pay your tuition.
 

msweph

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That is a good question. I'm wondering if some part of your tuition isn't waived, though. For instance, maybe you pay for P1-P4 years and then you have a couple of strictly PhD years afterwards where the tuition is waived.

I guess I also have a hard time believing that you can get your entire medical school tuition waived just because you do a PhD. Professional school is expensive. Again it seems more reasonable to think you would get a couple years free at the end (while working as a research or teaching assistant). But I'm not that familiar with how dual degree pathways work, so who knows.
I believe it is dependent on the school. Some are fully covered others it's half or so.
 

medicalCPA

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Chiming in with my opinion here...MD/PhD programs are by and large funded by the NIH. There are schools that fund them on their own, but NIH funding pays for the vast majority. NIH pays for both the PhD and the professional degree because it wanted to create physician-scientists and did not want money to be a burden on what would be a long academic journey, especially considering that those who enroll forgo earning power. I'm guessing that, because of NIH's stance with regard to MD/PhD funding, people have come to expect that combined medical scientist degrees (MD/PhD or DO/PhD) come with such funding.

No such thing exists for PharmD/PhDs. The government has not seen the value of having pharmaceutical scientists as it has with medical scientists, so the PharmD/PhD is kind of a novelty. There's not this expectation of funding, hence, no funding. That's just my opinion, however.
 
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May 29, 2014
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It's called an F30 grant. It's for any professional/research dual degree seeker, and it pays for your tuition, as well as your research. I should know, since that's how I'm currently paying for my degrees. They're competitive, but if you have a really interesting project idea and a good advisor, they're definitely obtainable. As a side note, my school will also fund your PhD years of a combined program through departmental funds, but not your professional years. It is what you make of it, so find a good mentor and a good project.
 

BeLikeBueller

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Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see the appeal of doing any sort of professional + PhD combined program. Either you want to do bench research, and you should do a PhD program, or you want to be a healthcare professional, and you should do the professional degree program. I especially don't see the point of doing a PharmD + PhD program. I know a lot of people who are research coordinators for their health system (from the pharmacy perspective), no PhD. Also, none of the research faculty at my college had both degrees. We did have one or two RPh, PhDs, but still. I just don't see the point.

Not trying to rain on your parade though. If you think that's what you need to do to get where you want to go, then by all means...

 
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Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see the appeal of doing any sort of professional + PhD combined program. Either you want to do bench research, and you should do a PhD program, or you want to be a healthcare professional, and you should do the professional degree program. I especially don't see the point of doing a PharmD + PhD program. I know a lot of people who are research coordinators for their health system (from the pharmacy perspective), no PhD. Also, none of the research faculty at my college had both degrees. We did have one or two RPh, PhDs, but still. I just don't see the point.

Not trying to rain on your parade though. If you think that's what you need to do to get where you want to go, then by all means...
The value of the PhD is not necessarily in the degree, itself. Yes, you are more than able to work in research with a professional degree, but a PhD gives you other experience and perspectives. Tell me, when you finish the professional degree, how many funded research projects will you have completed (on your own or overseeing others, such as undergrads)? How much will you learn about experimental design, reproducibility, and protocol refinement? How many grants will you have written for the NIH or other funding bodies? How many peer reviewed articles will you have published? Will you have the experience and skills necessary to function in the capacity of a PI? How about budget and resource management? Or mentorship/leadership of the people working for you? That is a large part of being a PhD student. Taking the new undergrads or MS students in one's lab and teaching, mentoring, and managing them. When you are a graduate student (yes, graduate, not professional), you are held to a different standard and given different responsibilities. This has more to do with professional development and one's ability to effectively manage a successful research study than anything else. So do you need the degree? No. Will it make you a much better scientist? Absolutely.

Just my two cents... Do with it what you will.
 
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BeLikeBueller

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The value of the PhD is not necessarily in the degree, itself. Yes, you are more than able to work in research with a professional degree, but a PhD gives you other experience and perspectives. Tell me, when you finish the professional degree, how many funded research projects will you have completed (on your own or overseeing others, such as undergrads)? How much will you learn about experimental design, reproducibility, and protocol refinement? How many grants will you have written for the NIH or other funding bodies? How many peer reviewed articles will you have published? Will you have the experience and skills necessary to function in the capacity of a PI? How about budget and resource management? Or mentorship/leadership of the people working for you? That is a large part of being a PhD student. Taking the new undergrads or MS students in one's lab and teaching, mentoring, and managing them. When you are a graduate student (yes, graduate, not professional), you are held to a different standard and given different responsibilities. This has more to do with professional development and one's ability to effectively manage a successful research study than anything else. So do you need the degree? No. Will it make you a much better scientist? Absolutely.

Just my two cents... Do with it what you will.

I think you may have misread my original post, but I don't see the benefit in combining a PharmD and a PhD. I can't think of a setting that would necessarily benefit from this combination. Either you end up doing research, in which case the PharmD was unnecessary, or you end up doing a more traditional pharmacy job, in which case the PhD was unnecessary. You are pursuing both so, if you don't mind my asking, what's your endgame? Bench research? Clinical research? Outcomes research? Or something more in the realm of traditional pharmacy practice?
 
May 29, 2014
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I think you may have misread my original post, but I don't see the benefit in combining a PharmD and a PhD. I can't think of a setting that would necessarily benefit from this combination. Either you end up doing research, in which case the PharmD was unnecessary, or you end up doing a more traditional pharmacy job, in which case the PhD was unnecessary. You are pursuing both so, if you don't mind my asking, what's your endgame? Bench research? Clinical research? Outcomes research? Or something more in the realm of traditional pharmacy practice?
My goal is academia. I want to do bench and clinical research, as I do now, and also practice as a clinical pharmacist. I also like to teach, so an academic medical center would provide me the opportunity to do these things more so than a smaller community hospital. Also, I see where you're coming from, and I agree to an extent. The PhD is really all you need for research, but if you want to focus on clinical studies, the PharmD in pretty much a necessity. Any time you move from a lab to the bedside, a clinical degree is enormously helpful, if only so you can learn to talk to patients and put your work in a tangible context.
 
OP
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The value of the PhD is not necessarily in the degree, itself. Yes, you are more than able to work in research with a professional degree, but a PhD gives you other experience and perspectives. Tell me, when you finish the professional degree, how many funded research projects will you have completed (on your own or overseeing others, such as undergrads)? How much will you learn about experimental design, reproducibility, and protocol refinement? How many grants will you have written for the NIH or other funding bodies? How many peer reviewed articles will you have published? Will you have the experience and skills necessary to function in the capacity of a PI? How about budget and resource management? Or mentorship/leadership of the people working for you? That is a large part of being a PhD student. Taking the new undergrads or MS students in one's lab and teaching, mentoring, and managing them. When you are a graduate student (yes, graduate, not professional), you are held to a different standard and given different responsibilities. This has more to do with professional development and one's ability to effectively manage a successful research study than anything else. So do you need the degree? No. Will it make you a much better scientist? Absolutely.

Just my two cents... Do with it what you will.
Just a quick question: how much more difficult is it to becoming a successful PhD these days? I know the NIH is making life a living hell with the pure-life sciences in terms of giving grant money - forcing some of these talented scientists out of work. I'm sure it also doesn't help that you have cutthroat HB-1 visa students from overseas making competition pretty stiff. I'm sure there are also politics and unnecessary hoops to jump through, just like in the practice of medicine - but is it more obvious in academia?
 
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Just a quick question: how much more difficult is it to becoming a successful PhD these days? I know the NIH is making life a living hell with the pure-life sciences in terms of giving grant money - forcing some of these talented scientists out of work. I'm sure it also doesn't help that you have cutthroat HB-1 visa students from overseas making competition pretty stiff. I'm sure there are also politics and unnecessary hoops to jump through, just like in the practice of medicine - but is it more obvious in academia?
Academia is an unnecessarily difficult and insecure field... Funding is tight, especially from the NIH, but there are some other sources that I've been able to take advantage of. If I were solely attempting a PhD, I would be much more worried about my future job prospects. There just aren't enough tenure or tenure-track positions available for everyone who is graduating. You're also correct about the students from other countries. In my program, there are 20 PhD students, and only 4 of them are from the US. They're applying for the same grants and jobs that everyone else is, so it definitely increases the competition. As far as politics, it really is a "who you know" game. It's sad, because it doesn't really matter how qualified you are, or how good your proposal is, when the other person knows someone you don't, and they get the money or job that you deserve. I see that happen a lot. And honestly, I've used it to my advantage, as well, otherwise I wouldn't get ahead. This is just what I've been exposed to in the limited environment of my field/institution, so take what I say for what it's worth... I'm sure there are many others more experienced than myself who can better educate you :)
 

TheTao

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You're also correct about the students from other countries. In my program, there are 20 PhD students, and only 4 of them are from the US. They're applying for the same grants and jobs that everyone else is, so it definitely increases the competition. As far as politics, it really is a "who you know" game. It's sad, because it doesn't really matter how qualified you are, or how good your proposal is, when the other person knows someone you don't, and they get the money or job that you deserve. I see that happen a lot.
I was recently in a research group of 15 that was all Asian and where I was the ONLY American. You're also correct about politics.

IMHO, it's just career suicide to earn a PhD without also earning a "clinical" doctorate. ABSOLUTE INSANITY!!
 
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Doc Hawaii

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I agree wholeheartedly with the above comments. I am a PhD/PharmD, but I earned my PhD years before going to pharmacy school. Seriously, bite the bullet and go to med school. Virtually all graduate students are foreign born-for a reason. All the joint PhD programs I know paid for the basic science training, but not for the professional/clinical side of things. Nice to know that there are limited grants to help out.

I loved the bench, but the pay and hours are horrific. Forget the politics too-can anyone say 'Civil War?'. And graduate students are held at a MUCH higher standard than even MS students. Not even close. It's like comparing Little League T-ball to the LA Dodgers.

Ask what proportion of PIs are single/divorced? How many people in the lab have clinically significant mental issues? How about being socially ******ed? How many scientists have moved across the country or world (constantly) for a job? What is your half-life in industry? How many unemployed physicians do you know? How many post-docs will never land a tenure-track position? How many publications do you need to land a job? How many post-docs will you need to land a job? How long before you lose that grant? Are you paid more with a clinical license? The list can go on and on.
 

TheTao

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LOL @ PIs being socially ******ed and SO VERY TRUE!!!!!

I understand the financial advantage of MD/PhD programs(a
Though not all of them pay for everything), but that socially ******ed thing is still there too although not as much. PharmD students/Pharmacists seem like MUCH more friendly people to be around. And if anyone thinks the personalities of your future colleagues don't mean anything, THINK AGAIN!!!
 
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PharmDCandidate2014

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Interesting article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2720311/

Several good points pointed out in this article. I'll point out the bad, because that's just my pessimistic personality kicking in. In the second section, "Arguments against the ...," Paragraph 1, the authors say:

"Because it is rarely articulated that the probability of annually earning seven figures is greater in a clinical pharmacy research career than in traditional practice, the six-figure salary for a 40-hour week looks more financially attractive as well."

So here's my 2 cents;
Okay, I get it. This was written 5 years ago when competition for grants were "relatively" easier to obtain, "pharmacist shortage" was actually a somewhat reasonable phrase, etc. But the probability of obtaining a greater income in research being greater than practicing pharmacy in retail or hospital is somewhat laughable. . . let alone OBTAINING a SEVEN-FIGURE salary in research. Were times that much better in 2009 or am I missing something?! This author makes it sound like it was a walk in the park to do that financially well in pharmaceutical research...

Let's add to the fact that big pharma's undergo flux all the time - mergers, layoffs up the wazoo (big pharmaceutical industries are one of the leading industries to layoff employees) - and one should believe this author had a slight lapse in judgment when writing that sentence.

Am I wrong here? What do you guys think?
 

type b pharmD

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Interesting article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2720311/

Several good points pointed out in this article. I'll point out the bad, because that's just my pessimistic personality kicking in. In the second section, "Arguments against the ...," Paragraph 1, the authors say:

"Because it is rarely articulated that the probability of annually earning seven figures is greater in a clinical pharmacy research career than in traditional practice, the six-figure salary for a 40-hour week looks more financially attractive as well."

So here's my 2 cents;
Okay, I get it. This was written 5 years ago when competition for grants were "relatively" easier to obtain, "pharmacist shortage" was actually a somewhat reasonable phrase, etc. But the probability of obtaining a greater income in research being greater than practicing pharmacy in retail or hospital is somewhat laughable. . . let alone OBTAINING a SEVEN-FIGURE salary in research. Were times that much better in 2009 or am I missing something?! This author makes it sound like it was a walk in the park to do that financially well in pharmaceutical research...

Let's add to the fact that big pharma's undergo flux all the time - mergers, layoffs up the wazoo (big pharmaceutical industries are one of the leading industries to layoff employees) - and one should believe this author had a slight lapse in judgment when writing that sentence.

Am I wrong here? What do you guys think?

What's the probability of earning 7 figures in retail ? 1/50,000?

in research ? Would you say 1/5,000?

Basic math would then argue your chances are 10 fold better of becoming a millionaire in research.. for whatever that's worth .. I would definitely disagree with the guys premise that THIS unspoken fact is somehow the reason people aren't choosing to go into research.

Wonder how many pharmacy researchers exist in the US ?
 

BidingMyTime

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What's the probability of earning 7 figures in retail ? 1/50,000?
in research ? Would you say 1/5,000?
Basic math would then argue your chances are 10 fold better of becoming a millionaire in research.. for whatever that's worth .. I would definitely disagree with the guys premise that THIS unspoken fact is somehow the reason people aren't choosing to go into research. Wonder how many pharmacy researchers exist in the US ?
Sure, I would agree ones chances of becoming a millionaire are greater if one goes into research, than if one gets a regular pharmacy job. But then, my chances of becoming a millionaire are also greater if I buy a lottery ticket, than if I don't. Of course, reality is, I am extremely unlikely to become a millionaire by either route, buying a lottery ticket or going into research. So the real question is what is the average/likely salary of a regular pharmacist vs a researcher? And what are the real intangible/QOL's of a regular pharmacist vs a researcher? That is the stuff one should be deciding when they pick a career, not whether one career has a 0.1% more likely chance of making them a millionaire than another career.
 
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fewaopi

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Sure, I would agree ones chances of becoming a millionaire are greater if one goes into research, than if one gets a regular pharmacy job. But then, my chances of becoming a millionaire are also greater if I buy a lottery ticket, than if I don't. Of course, reality is, I am extremely unlikely to become a millionaire by either route, buying a lottery ticket or going into research. So the real question is what is the average/likely salary of a regular pharmacist vs a researcher? And what are the real intangible/QOL's of a regular pharmacist vs a researcher? That is the stuff one should be deciding when they pick a career, not whether one career has a 0.1% more likely chance of making them a millionaire than another career.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3049656/

Wait we're not saying researchers make more than pharmacists here are we? Because there's a reason researchers are going to pharmacy/medical school after phd. Ph.D is hardly worth it and you'd be better off as a pharmacist than doing a phd.
 

rxlea

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Think outside the box. Who says you have to do "bench" research?

Programs vary in how they fund their students but I assure you, the funding is out there if you look for it.

I agree that graduate students are held to a different standard. I think I've said this before : don't do a PhD unless you really, really want to. It's very different from a professional degree.

As far as its utility, opinions vary on this but of all the important people I've talked to, they all think it will lead to great things. If you think outside the box :)
 

fewaopi

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Think outside the box. Who says you have to do "bench" research?

Programs vary in how they fund their students but I assure you, the funding is out there if you look for it.

I agree that graduate students are held to a different standard. I think I've said this before : don't do a PhD unless you really, really want to. It's very different from a professional degree.

As far as its utility, opinions vary on this but of all the important people I've talked to, they all think it will lead to great things. If you think outside the box :)
Of course. I think many people see phd as a bench lab degree. As far as I know though, most pharmd phds are actually in areas of economics or policy, public health. those fields are a bit easier and more employable. a hospital i was at actually seemed intrigued and interested at a pharmd w/phd in economics, perhaps to help lower costs of drugs and do some type of study/analysis. as you said, think outside the box. i think the softer, more liberal fields of phd are more common and more utility than bench in general and there seems to be more opportunity, especially in economics.
 
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