DoctorB

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Is it possible to be a research oriented physician without having your PhD? I ask this because I am including how I want to conduct research as a physician in my essays but am applying to the MD only programs. Will they wonder why I am not applying to the MD/PhD program?
 

beaverfetus

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DoctorB said:
Is it possible to be a research oriented physician without having your PhD? I ask this because I am including how I want to conduct research as a physician in my essays but am applying to the MD only programs. Will they wonder why I am not applying to the MD/PhD program?
http://medicine.mc.vanderbilt.edu/q2kaiser2.cfm?PI=1114

my PI

nough said.
 

coco11

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Actually it's pretty common for an MD only to be a PI of a lab, at least at my school.
 

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DoctorB said:
Is it possible to be a research oriented physician without having your PhD? I ask this because I am including how I want to conduct research as a physician in my essays but am applying to the MD only programs. Will they wonder why I am not applying to the MD/PhD program?
Yes, it is definitely possible to be a research-oriented physician without having a PhD. There are a bunch of schools that will let you do an optional fifth year and get your MS, and also some programs like mine where everyone does a fifth year for research. You should look into doing a five-year MD/MS program if you want to get some research experience but you don't want to do an entire PhD. You will probably get asked during interviews why you aren't applying to the MD/PhD program though (I did when I applied), so you should be prepared to answer that question. Good luck! :)

-CCLCMer
 

beaverfetus

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CCLCMer said:
Yes, it is definitely possible to be a research-oriented physician without having a PhD. There are a bunch of schools that will let you do an optional fifth year and get your MS, and also some programs like mine where everyone does a fifth year for research. You should look into doing a five-year MD/MS program if you want to get some research experience but you don't want to do an entire PhD. You will probably get asked during interviews why you aren't applying to the MD/PhD program though (I did when I applied), so you should be prepared to answer that question. Good luck! :)

-CCLCMer
err whats a good answer to that question? I'm sure ill get it as well
 

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I'm currently in a summer research program at an Indiana med school (I'll let you guess which one), and part of our program includes weekly seminars with physician scientists where they discuss their research, answer questions, etc. I am surprised at how many don't actually have PhDs. One physician had never even had research exposure until she started her fellowship, and now she has her own lab. There's probably more flexibility with an MD degree than we can imagine as premeds. Depending on how the med school's program is set up, there are opportunities to perform research over the summer and stuff. You might find that if you do decide to pursue a physician scientist route with only an MD, you will still end up devoting much of your time to research and writing grants and stuff down the road. (For example, one MD spends about 3 weeks out of the year seeing patients. Another devotes 10% of time to patients. One MD/PhD sees patients every Thursday for half a day. It depends somewhat on personal preference, but I'm guessing clinical time is inversely proportional to the size of one's lab.)

I enjoy research for the hands on aspect, not so much the management aspect, and I sometimes find that research can become a little tedious. I think I'd much rather be seeing patients than sitting in a lab office. That's why I probably wouldn't apply to MD/PhD programs event if I had the credentials to do so. The "grant management" aspect is a reality many people don't understand, so make sure you can avoid it somehow, or make sure you really enjoy writing grants. For the record, I am applying to primarily research schools because it's not something I want to entirely rule out in the future. You never know ;).
 

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My PI for the summer doesn't have his PhD and is running his own lab. Actually, many of the PIs in the department are M.D. only.

I know that for mine in particular, he did a lot of research as an undergrad and then later in medical school and his current work is a continuation of what he did previously.
 

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beaverfetus said:
err whats a good answer to that question? I'm sure ill get it as well
There's no one right answer to that question. It depends on you and your situation, and you have to be able to justify why you are choosing one pathway over the other. There are 32 people in my program. Two of them came in already having PhDs, so it's obvious why they wouldn't apply for an MD/PhD program. Several others are older students, and again, it's understandable why someone who is going to med school in their late 20s or early 30s wouldn't want to do an MD/PhD program. Some of them did apply to MD/PhD programs as well as MD/MS programs. (Case, which we're a part of, has an MSTP as well as the regular MD and CCLCM programs.) In my case, I didn't apply for any MD/PhD programs because I didn't want to be in a program that is seven to eight years, and also because I want to do clinical research. It seems to me that a lot of MD/PhD programs focus more on basic science research.

I think that what you should do is decide what your career goal is, and be prepared to make the case that an MD/MS or a straight MD will be what it takes to get you there. Again, there isn't any right or wrong answer to the question, but you want to really research your options and convince the interviewer that you have a good reason for doing what you're doing. If you don't know yourself, you need to think about it until you do. I can't tell you why you shouldn't do a PhD. That's something you need to figure out. :)

-CCLCMer
 

beaverfetus

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thanks for the involved reply!

Yeah, I mean the real reason is that I don't want to be tied down for 7-8 years, and I'm not sure I'll end up doing any research at all. But the latter reason isn't exactly going to be easy to explain with the way i've structured my PS and other materials, which emphasize my commitment to translational research...

but I think I can play up the flexibility advantages of a straight MD program, and the simple fact that it won't really hold me back from the type of research I would be interested in anyway, which like you, doesn't involve basic sciences.
 

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beaverfetus said:
thanks for the involved reply!

Yeah, I mean the real reason is that I don't want to be tied down for 7-8 years, and I'm not sure I'll end up doing any research at all. But the latter reason isn't exactly going to be easy to explain with the way i've structured my PS and other materials, which emphasize my commitment to translational research...

but I think I can play up the flexibility advantages of a straight MD program, and the simple fact that it won't really hold me back from the type of research I would be interested in anyway, which like you, doesn't involve basic sciences.
I know Albany Medical College has a MDDR program or MD with Distinction in Research. You pursure an independent research project with a mentor, get experience writing a proposal, presenting to a thesis advisory committee, writing a thesis, defending it, and getting this DR on your diploma next to MD. You don't take extra time or anything - straight 4 years. You just pursue research during parts of the summer and a little during the school year. Its nice because it's a mini masters so you get the experience and knowledge of basic science research, and its helpful for residency interviews when you can show that you've written a thesis on a particular topic, possibly even publish a paper during the 4 years. A masters is not really helpful for anything as a MD and a PhD is alot of time/research committment.
 

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straight from the horses mouth: here the horses are deans of medical school and ppl with md/phDs at ut medical school. i asked the question and they said that most of academic medicine(ie the research oriented world you seek) aren't PhDs but most people who do MD/PhD are in the academic medicine. u get it...kinda like those 3 circles where one includes the other but not the other one...basically i'm where you are and don't want the PhD but want the lifestyle and he said its totally doable and actually really common but he said also that academic medicine isn't much bank you should be happy with 80,000 a year and the better the school, the lower your paycheck.
 

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Also a lot of schools require a research thesis. So if you are interested in doing research after medical school some schools will cater to your interests without requiring you get a phd or a masters.
 

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DoctorB said:
Is it possible to be a research oriented physician without having your PhD? I ask this because I am including how I want to conduct research as a physician in my essays but am applying to the MD only programs. Will they wonder why I am not applying to the MD/PhD program?
There are plenty of researchers who only have MD degree.