fyli260

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I posted this in another thread, but no one seems to have noticed it. Anyone has any opinion about my 3/4(PhD)-4(MD) plan:

What do you guys think of doing the PhD training before the MD training if you have the option to do so? With all the recent talk about feeling depressed about leaving your medical school class or nervous about returning to M3, I'm starting to think this is a better idea than the 2-3/4-2 split. I guess if your PhD program requires you to take certain courses, do rotations, and teach, the latter scheme may be a more efficient way of doing an MD/PhD. But if you have the option of opting out of all those requirements, I feel the former scheme might work much better (especially if you already have very strong and focused ideas about what you want to do). The idea is that you would dive into your thesis research right away and finish up the last few experiments and the write-up during M1 and M2. I know doing M1 and M2 first may get you start thinking more like a PHYSICIAN-scientist in your research, but I feel you may get that just by choosing an MD or MD/PhD PI as an advisor. But I also feel that you probably won't start applying your MD training until you do research during your residency. What do you guys think are the strong disadvantages of the 3/4-4 model other than that the two trainings are not well integrated (although the 2-3/4-2 model at most schools doesn't seem to integrate both training that much either)?
 

stillsmilin

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an argument against the 4yr-phd/4yr-md program is that the research world changes too fast to be out of the business for 4yrs and then return after med school. even completing one yr of med school before your phd yrs would make you less removed. a second argument is that without the preclinical yrs before the phd, you wont have the medical framework to guide your research questions/interests. but of coure there are plenty of arguments against the current 2-4-2 system! so im sure whatever plan gives you the best funding/training/prospects will be great.

fyli260 said:
I posted this in another thread, but no one seems to have noticed it. Anyone has any opinion about my 3/4(PhD)-4(MD) plan:

What do you guys think of doing the PhD training before the MD training if you have the option to do so? With all the recent talk about feeling depressed about leaving your medical school class or nervous about returning to M3, I'm starting to think this is a better idea than the 2-3/4-2 split. I guess if your PhD program requires you to take certain courses, do rotations, and teach, the latter scheme may be a more efficient way of doing an MD/PhD. But if you have the option of opting out of all those requirements, I feel the former scheme might work much better (especially if you already have very strong and focused ideas about what you want to do). The idea is that you would dive into your thesis research right away and finish up the last few experiments and the write-up during M1 and M2. I know doing M1 and M2 first may get you start thinking more like a PHYSICIAN-scientist in your research, but I feel you may get that just by choosing an MD or MD/PhD PI as an advisor. But I also feel that you probably won't start applying your MD training until you do research during your residency. What do you guys think are the strong disadvantages of the 3/4-4 model other than that the two trainings are not well integrated (although the 2-3/4-2 model at most schools doesn't seem to integrate both training that much either)?
 
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fyli260

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stillsmilin said:
an argument against the 4yr-phd/4yr-md program is that the research world changes too fast to be out of the business for 4yrs and then return after med school. even completing one yr of med school before your phd yrs would make you less removed.
But if you're finishing up your thesis research during M1 and M2, then you would only be removed from the research world just as long as the 2-4-2 scheme.

stillsmilin said:
a second argument is that without the preclinical yrs before the phd, you wont have the medical framework to guide your research questions/interests.
I think you can probably learn to ask such questions by choosing an advisor with an MD. And I think you probably won't be asking so much of your own research questions and pursuing your own research interests until you're a postdoc.
 

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fyli260 said:
I posted this in another thread, but no one seems to have noticed it. Anyone has any opinion about my 3/4(PhD)-4(MD) plan:

What do you guys think of doing the PhD training before the MD training if you have the option to do so?
I didn't think that my medical school was that well integrated with my graduate school so I think this biases me to the PhD-MD plan. Depending on how clinical the project was it could be a little tougher to understand some of the medical terminology, but I have faith in MSTP students in that they have a steep learning curve (and since it pertains to research interests) they will learn the field even if their PI is not a MD.

I personally like having the medical school/residency put together. Odds are for me, I probably will change research fields for my fellowship/postdoc so I would have to reacquaint myself with my new field of research (for the most part, the mechanisms and models will change, but people have been using transgenic/KO mice, cloning genes, Westerns, Northerns, immunofluorescence for years so being away from science so I am not too worried about forgetting everything).

However if I were an incoming student into these programs, I would have the following questions:
1) If I decide the PhD is not for me, am I guaranteed a position in the medical school (many MSTP students quit during the transition from medical school to graduate school to stay in medical school)?
2) Are my Ph.D. requirements (for ex. graduate class loads) reduced (some schools allow you to transfer med school classes to reduce grad school class requirements)?
3) When do I have to finish the PhD so that I can synchronize with the med school (most programs are flexible when you return to medical school after graduate school)?
 
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fyli260

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Thanks, BDavis, for you input. I think you suggested some really good questions to consider.

BDavis said:
1) If I decide the PhD is not for me, am I guaranteed a position in the medical school (many MSTP students quit during the transition from medical school to graduate school to stay in medical school)?
I think most MSTP programs (at least the ones I'm considering) require you to gain admission to the MD program before you can gain admission to MSTP. Hence, I don't think it'll be a problem if you quit PhD to do the MD along the way. Of course, you would lose out on the free ride for the first two years. But then, what's your real intension of doing MSTP anyway.

On the other hand, I'm starting to think that I may not need the MD. Hence, if I realize that toward the end of my PhD training, I can save myself a couple of years and save the MSTP some money. I think most MSTP's should adopt this model, since then people won't be attracted into MSTP for the wrong reason. Maybe then, the dropout rates for MSTP won't be so high.

BDavis said:
2) Are my Ph.D. requirements (for ex. graduate class loads) reduced (some schools allow you to transfer med school classes to reduce grad school class requirements)?
This is not a problem since the program I'm thinking of has no PhD course requirements.

BDavis said:
3) When do I have to finish the PhD so that I can synchronize with the med school (most programs are flexible when you return to medical school after graduate school)?
I suppose you would have to have 80-90% of your thesis research complete before you start the MD training so that you can just wrap during the first couple years of med school. I'm not too worried about this synchronization since the same problem also exists in the 2-4-2 scheme.
 

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fyli260 said:
On the other hand, I'm starting to think that I may not need the MD. Hence, if I realize that toward the end of my PhD training, I can save myself a couple of years and save the MSTP some money. I think most MSTP's should adopt this model, since then people won't be attracted into MSTP for the wrong reason. Maybe then, the dropout rates for MSTP won't be so high.
These MSTP's are designed for the students' benefits (I would not factor in trying to save the MSTP money) in the hopes that academics can retain better trained physician-scientists. Nowadays, I think word is finally sinking in that the lack of debt of the MD/PhD program is not worth the years as a Ph.D. if money is the only motivation. The dropout rates vary from program to program; I think you would have to talk to students to see what the dropout rate is.

fyli260 said:
I suppose you would have to have 80-90% of your thesis research complete before you start the MD training so that you can just wrap during the first couple years of med school. I'm not too worried about this synchronization since the same problem also exists in the 2-4-2 scheme.
You should personally work this out with your advisor well before graduation so you don't have any surprises. Some advisors will allow MSTP students to graduate with submitted manuscripts (which may require more experiments) while others want the manuscripts accepted (which may take 1-2 months for the review to come back, 1-3 months for additional experiments and maybe 1 more month to go back to the original reviewers - worst case scenario; although I am sure some student can come up with an even longer example).

With the 2-4-2 scheme, I was under the impression that since basic sciences is done, you can enter anytime to start up with clinical rotations (which are continously going on). However with the PhD-MD program you propose, I thought you start basic sciences (where the classes are only offered once a year; for ex. you could only take physiology in say the Fall semester). Maybe I got it all mixed up.
 
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fyli260

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BDavis said:
You should personally work this out with your advisor well before graduation so you don't have any surprises. Some advisors will allow MSTP students to graduate with submitted manuscripts (which may require more experiments) while others want the manuscripts accepted (which may take 1-2 months for the review to come back, 1-3 months for additional experiments and maybe 1 more month to go back to the original reviewers - worst case scenario; although I am sure some student can come up with an even longer example).

With the 2-4-2 scheme, I was under the impression that since basic sciences is done, you can enter anytime to start up with clinical rotations (which are continously going on). However with the PhD-MD program you propose, I thought you start basic sciences (where the classes are only offered once a year; for ex. you could only take physiology in say the Fall semester). Maybe I got it all mixed up.
I think you made a very good point. But I guess I am hoping the PhD training can be more flexible so that I can work around the MD schedule. I wasn't sure how the clinical rotations work. In the 2-4-2 scheme, if you start rotations in the middle of the academic year, wouldn't you be out of syn with graduation time and residency applications?
 

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fyli260 said:
I think you made a very good point. But I guess I am hoping the PhD training can be more flexible so that I can work around the MD schedule. I wasn't sure how the clinical rotations work. In the 2-4-2 scheme, if you start rotations in the middle of the academic year, wouldn't you be out of syn with graduation time and residency applications?
If you return too late then yes you would be out of sync, but you could space out the rotations so you could have blocks of breaks built in between say surgery and medicine.
 

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fyli260 said:
I posted this in another thread, but no one seems to have noticed it. Anyone has any opinion about my 3/4(PhD)-4(MD) plan:
I'm also planning to do a little different take on the MD/PhD program and so far, it's working out like this:

PhD- 1.5 years - take qualifying exams, select/defend dissertation topic

MD- 2.0 years - research in the M1, M2 summers

PhD- 1-2 years - Defend dissertation. Not too unreasonable I think since I will continuously worked on the project.

MD- 2 years

Total number of years to finish: Looks like about 8, but who's counting!
 

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fyli260 said:
I posted this in another thread, but no one seems to have noticed it. Anyone has any opinion about my 3/4(PhD)-4(MD) plan:
This is (almost) exactly what I am doing. I finished my PhD back in 2003, have been doing a posdoc ever since, and will stay at a 25% appointment this coming Fall when I begin my MD course work. There are MD-PhD program that will consider taking you on as a Fellow.

I will have a better answer for you in 4 years. However, I can tell you that this will not keep me from staying up on my field of expertise. That is what journals are for. :)
 
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fyli260

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WWJD said:
This is (almost) exactly what I am doing. I finished my PhD back in 2003, have been doing a posdoc ever since, and will stay at a 25% appointment this coming Fall when I begin my MD course work. There are MD-PhD program that will consider taking you on as a Fellow.

I will have a better answer for you in 4 years. However, I can tell you that this will not keep me from staying up on my field of expertise. That is what journals are for. :)
I'm curious if someone did the 3/4-4 scheme as part of an actual MD/PhD program rather than fully completing a PhD before pursuing the MD.
 

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fyli260 said:
I'm curious if someone did the 3/4-4 scheme as part of an actual MD/PhD program rather than fully completing a PhD before pursuing the MD.
I don't think that is even an option. I could be wrong. However, I do believe the typical MSTP program is 2 yrs med school (M1 & M2), 4-5 yrs PhD, and then M3 & M4.

The MSP (Medical Scholars Program) at UIUC might be as close as you will get to what you are looking for. They do the M1 courses amidst their 4-5 yrs of PhD work then go right into M2-M4.
 

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WWJD said:
This is (almost) exactly what I am doing. I finished my PhD back in 2003, have been doing a posdoc ever since, and will stay at a 25% appointment this coming Fall when I begin my MD course work. There are MD-PhD program that will consider taking you on as a Fellow.

I will have a better answer for you in 4 years. However, I can tell you that this will not keep me from staying up on my field of expertise. That is what journals are for. :)
How do these MD-PhD programs take you on as a fellow? Do they pay med school tuition and/or stipend? If so what programs are willing to take on fellows?
 

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vcatz said:
How do these MD-PhD programs take you on as a fellow? Do they pay med school tuition and/or stipend? If so what programs are willing to take on fellows?
The only program I am currently aware of is the MSP, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am connected to a lab right now (@ UIUC) as a Postdoc and I plan on staying connected (working) while in med school.
 

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The only program I am currently aware of is the MSP, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am connected to a lab right now (@ UIUC) as a Postdoc and I plan on staying connected (working) while in med school.
WWJD,

I am currently a postdoc at a teaching hospital and want to go to med school. I am curious as to how you are doing both simultaneously. Are you still being paid? That would certainly relieve some of the financial burden.
 

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WWJD,

I am currently a postdoc at a teaching hospital and want to go to med school. I am curious as to how you are doing both simultaneously. Are you still being paid? That would certainly relieve some of the financial burden.
Dude, WWJD hasn't posted on this site since people respected Barry Bonds.
 

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LOL....Okay...I figured I would try it anyway. Do you have any words of wisdom for someone in my predicament?
Apply to med school. You can try to work out an arrangement where you can still do some research while in med school. Don't expect much/any financial assistance with med school. You can try to work something out where you can make some money, but your time on top of med school will be limited. You'll have more time in the first two years and less in the last two. There's one SDNer who comes to mind who pulled something like this off who I saw on here recently. I'll PM you her name. Beyond that however, I've seen numerous very successful PhDs transition to med school. You may get lucky and get a scholarship to med school or you may not, but you just have to apply like everyone else. There's no special programs except the one already mentioned (does it even exist anymore?).
 

QofQuimica

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DoctorLost, I am now in med school after finishing my PhD (separate programs). Like Neuro said, you pretty much have to apply to med school the same as everyone else. Start by taking any missing pre-reqs, take the MCAT, and get some clinical experience. Buy a copy of the MSAR to help you select schools that give preference to people from your state of residence. (Residency matters a lot for many state schools.) Unlike UG or grad school, funding for med school is usually going to be loans. A select few people are fortunate enough to get a full scholarship to med school, but you should absolutely not count on being able to get one, even if you are a rock star applicant.

Best of luck to you, and feel free to PM me if you have specific questions. I also made a post in the sticky at the top of this forum that has links to threads that are helpful for PhDs who want to apply to med school.
 

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I am curious if anyone knows about programs that allow grad students to transfer into the MD - PhD program. I actually was accepted into Oregon Health and Science University's PhD program in Phys/Pharm but had to defer a year for family reasons. In the meantime I have been continuing to do research in cardiac E-C coupling, and, because of the clinical implications, I have become interested in going the MD - PhD route. However, I have not been able to figure out if OHSU allows PhD students to transfer in their first or second year. Does anybody know?