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Want a PhD and an MBA

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by Poety, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. Poety

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    Hi all, its me :D I was wondering if anyone knew how I could pursue a PhD and an MBA while in residency adn if this is even possible. Can our medical education apply toward the PhD degree? What exactly would be involved in getting one - anyone?

    I'm interested in schizophrenia research so that is what I would want my focus in for the research aspect of it.

    edit: and I'd also like to know what the PhD could help me with as far as jobs go - I don't want to get it if its not going to make a difference in my choice for positions.
     
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  3. Hurricane

    Hurricane Senior Member
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    I don't know how you'd go about getting a PhD while in residency, but I'm sure someone has done it. A Neuroscience PhD typically entails some coursework, some lab rotations to pick a lab, a qualifying exam (writing a grant proposal + an oral defense), and your dissertation research and defense. In an MD/PhD program, the first 2 years of medical school counts for most of the coursework, but the dissertation research itself takes 3-5 years (average 4), and that's full-time work. Just speculating... I suppose one could start a little coursework in the PGY3 year, then do research in PGY4 and beyond, until the degree is completed. You'd take a pay cut though - a grad student stipend is much less than a resident or postdoc salary.

    Alternatively, it is entirely possible to do research during residency, and an extra year for a research fellowship. Many programs have research time and/or fellowships built in. Since the PGY4 year is all elective anyway, many programs let you use that year for research. UCSF gives you 30% of PGY3, 90% of PGY4, and will fund an additional PGY5 year for research, during which time you can apply for a K-award (an NIH grant for starting faculty) which then makes it easy to get a position with protected research time, since you've got your own funding. Their program is more geared towards people who already have a lot of research experience. OTOH, some programs pathways that are geared towards people without as much prior experience but who want to learn. Emory is working on a research pathway with an extra year for those types of residents. Vanderbilt has a flexible program with lots of time for research, and they have a new research track where you do an extra year (5 total) and end up with the addiction fellowship and a master's degree. And my home institution (University of Cincinnati) has lots of time available for research, starting in PGY2 (see my post in the review thread). Those are the only ones I know a lot of details about, since I'm still kinda early in the interviewing process.

    As far as jobs go, I would think that if you do a lot of research during residency, and maybe an extra year or two of fellowship afterwards, and end up with a K award when you're looking for faculty positions, you'd be competitive with an MD/PhD. Granted, I'm a long way off from that point now, but from what I've seen, psych is hungry for people with basic science research training. If you are thinking more along the lines of clinical research, then I don't think the PhD is necessarily as important. Lots of MDs do clinical research.

    Standard disclaimer: I'm just a cheeky 4th year, so I may not know what the hell I'm talking about...

    And I don't know squat about MBAs. I can barely keep my checkbook balanced.
     
  4. Poety

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    Hurricane, thanks so much for that reply! I learned about the aspects you mentioned as well from some programs - however I didn't even get offered interviews to Vandy, Duke or Emory so I dunno - I'm mostly interviewing at smaller programs so Im not sure how much I'll really be able to do. (I didn't really like UNC enough to want to go there for research)

    I guess I will start small by doing a bit in residency and seeing how much I like it - from there I imagine I could pursue it hardcore if the program thought I'd stay on as faculty (since everyone wants someone doing research now a days!)

    I really appreciate all your insight, and I am with you on the balance the checkbook thing - which is why I need an MBA :laugh:
     
  5. Hurricane

    Hurricane Senior Member
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    Well just ask your favorite programs how flexible they are about the PGY3 and 4 years, and if there are people you could work with. It seems like most people do whatever the hell they want during the PGY4 year... :)
     
  6. Poety

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    Thanks Hurricane, you know Im a bit disheartened since I did almost a full year of research and not one person on interview has asked me about it - I mean I even extended my graduation for it!!!! (6 years for the MD as opposed to 4, 1 for research 1 for baby :) Odd, and makes me wonder a bit though.
     
  7. LM02

    LM02 Senior Member
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    There are research fellowships that you could complete post-residency, without having to go and puruse an additional degree.

    For example, in my department, we have several research fellowships that run annual recruitments. Even though the majority of people filling the spots are research-focused clinical psychology PhDs, it is not unusual for a post-residency psychiatrist to take one or two of the slots. Similarly, it is not unusual for a PhD in a related discipline (e.g., cognitive neuroscience) to take a slot, as well.

    You select a primary mentor from a list of available faculty - comprised on both psychologists and psychiatrists. You would then become a member of their lab, which would provide you with exposure to their active research studies and to collaborative pursuits with other lab members. Additionally, the PhDs and MDs attend all of the same didactics - advanced research design (e.g., conducting multi-site trials), ethics, and grantsmanship, etc.

    I would keep my eyes open for the so-called NIMH T32 fellowships. They are awarded to faculty PIs who run the "training program" at an academic medical center. These are often thematically-oriented (e.g., training in schizophrenia research; training in dementia research, etc.), and advertise several slots per year.

    Don't know anything about MBAs, though... us psychologists don't care about money. ;)

    Edited to add: Given the governmental budget problems, K awards are becoming increasingly competitive. The expectation is that it will take 2-3 submissions to NIH before you will get the funding. Additionally, you have to have fairly substantial research experience (multiple publications within a programmatic line of research, prior grant funding, etc.) to be competitive for these awards.
     
  8. Poety

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    Thanks so much [email protected]! Can you tell me if I went into one of those programs would I receive a stipend for my time there - and would I be able to get a degree at all or just be a research psychiatrist?
     
  9. LM02

    LM02 Senior Member
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    You would, indeed, receive a stipend (the amount of which is determined by NIH). In fact, your annual stipend is calculated based on the number years you are "post-degree." So MDs entering the research fellowships get substantially larger stipends than the PhDs, because the fellowship is conducted post-residency (e.g., year 5 post-degree). Alternatively, PhDs go into the fellowships following internship which is only 1 year, and actually required for the doctoral degree. So they actually enter at the time of 0 years post-degree.

    You would not be able to get a degree, but you would receive structured and formal research training. At that point in your career, i don't think the actual PhD degree is going to buy you much. I would just focus on developing your research skills within the context of prior research and clinical experience. Moreover, on the fellowship, you would be expected to write and submit manuscripts, which would boost your research record and make you competitive for NIH grant proposals, such as the K.

    Usually, there is some monetary allowance for conference travel and tuition to take a class or two (e.g.,if you wanted to take multivariate stats in one of the grad depts associated with your university).
     
  10. Poety

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    Now ofcourse the inevitable questions - what type of stipend are we talking here? :laugh: I do love research immensely, and I'm asking because there is part of me that thinks I may actually want to make a career out of this later on (we'll see) but ther is also the part of me that knows I have 250K+ to pay back :) thanks so much LM02!
     
  11. LM02

    LM02 Senior Member
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    I just looked it up. It's not great (and, actually, not as much more than year 0 than I thought) - $47K/year.

    However, and this is a big however, participation in a research fellowship would allow you to be eligible to apply for the NIH clinical research loan repayment program. That covers up to $35K/year for two years. So, in addition to your paltry $47K/year, you could earn an additional $70K in loan repayment.

    Plus, you can apply for renewal of the LRP for up to another 2 years afterward (assuming that you are doing at least 50% research).
     
  12. Poety

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    LM02- this research fellowship - do I have to have done my residency at a research oriented place? Or how could I make myself more attractive to the PhD's if I don't end up at a place like that? the place I really want isn't a big research mogul - but a place I would love to train - can you advise on what I should be sure to do during residency to have the research fellowship opportunity? And also, could I do this after doing say a child fellowship? I'm sorry for all the questions LM02, just seems you can answer more of these questions than even people I've met on the interview trail! I really appreciate it :)
     
  13. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon
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    Poety--what's your career goal here? I guess I didn't have you pegged as a research faculty type person, or a hard core administrator type. Most of your posts have led me to think that you were a pretty straight-up clinician, but I could be wrong.

    Anyway, don't go piling up degrees and fellowships that you don't really need. You will get more on-the-job training than you realize. And if you really are interested in a research career, what will matter more than the letters after your name is mentored hands-on experience--as a resident or otherwise.
     
  14. Poety

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    Thanks so much OPD! I am one of those odd, researcher/clinicians? I'm one of the few with a lot of research experience both bench in undergrad (3 years of it with thesis published) as well as in medical school - I always seem to have my hands in some kind of research. My dean actually says Im a bit of an academic - but I think he says that because I'm a bit aloof at times :oops:

    I'm not sure of my career goals, which is why I was hoping to learn more about my options, but no one as o fyet on my interview trail has been able to tell me anything solid about research except maybe "we have a research track" but thats it - nothing as detailed as LM02 has said.

    I wish they had hooked me up with more faculty that got the K grants - I've gone to 2 interviews with these recipients there, but I only got to meet one total out of 4.
     
  15. ProZackMI

    ProZackMI Psychiatrist/Attorney
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    Hey, Dr. Poetry! You're on the path of life studenthood, eh? I don't mean to sound preachy, but if you're interested in doing research in schizophrenia, you don't need a PhD. Yes, researchers are typically PhDs, but in your case, with an MD and psych residency, you could go into academia and conduct research (clinical or non-clinical) in that area at a medical or graduate school.

    A few points:

    1) There are MD-PhD programs that combine the requirements for the two degrees, but if you're at the residency stage of your education, or your fourth year, it's way too late for that. You would have to start a PhD fresh from the beginning, which is an add'l 3-6 years of classwork + dissertation. I did law school and residency at the same time, but it was HELL. Don't do it! Finish your residency first.

    2) If your research interests are biogenetic causes of schiz, then perhaps a post MD master's degree in genetics, genetic counseling, molecular bio, or general research design would be more appropriate. If you're interested in the public health aspect, an post MD MPH might be a good choice.

    3) PhD programs will most likely NOT grant you any credit for your nursing or medical eduation. An MD = professional degree and a PhD = true doctorate/graduate degree. Unless you're part of a combined degree program (MD-PHD), they won't accept any credits. I considered this before law school and was disappointed. In fact, most PhD researchers look down on MDs as being "body mechanics" or "clinicians", not true researchers. However, in the medical school setting, many researchers have just an MD, although many usually have an MD and some kind of post-doctoral master's.

    4) An MBA has nothing to do with schizophrenia research, but if you are interested in an MBA, after residency, MANY colleges and universities offer an MBA (or some derivation thereof, like master's in health admin, master's of public health-admin, master's of science in health care admin., etc.) for physicians and will waive the GMAT due to your medical education. An MBA should be really easy after med school, but it's not a walk in the park.

    If I can be of any help, PM me! :)

    Zack
     
  16. Poety

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    You know, I brought this up in another thread and was told by a PhD guy that I was putting down HIS profession :rolleyes: anyway, thanks so much for that reply Zack! Useful as always :)

    I'm not sure what area I want to get into - I mean there are days I want to get a law degree too. I should warn you - I'm one of those "perpetual student" types so I tend to rack up the degrees or research time just because I can :oops: I think its left over from my grandmother being superintendant of the school system where I grew up :laugh:

    I think that once I start residency, I could express my interest and hopefully get on some papers, I wonder how much reserach experience would be necessary for me to do a fellowship - maybe I can just apply to one post residency.?
     
  17. ProZackMI

    ProZackMI Psychiatrist/Attorney
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    Your stipend will usually be under 50K. Don't enter research as a fellow unless you're financially prepared. You will be an indentured servant, but will gain a ton of experience.

    Seriously, Poetry, you really should sit down and define your goals.

    Ask yourself:

    1) If I could have my dream job, what would it be?
    2) What areas of research interest me the most?
    3) Am I a researcher or a clinician? If you're a researcher, mayhaps the MD was the wrong choice? No offense, but the PhD is more appropriate for research in general, but the MD does not preclude you; however, it could limit you.
    4) Fellowships are great, but often pay squat and depending on your goals, may not be of much value to your career. Unless you're seriously interested in academic research, a fellowship won't help your career as a clinical psychiatrist.
    5) Do you really want to rack up more debt earning another degree that may/may not help your career?
    6) What about your family? You said you had a young child at home.

    Having done med and law, I will say this. I wouldn't advise anyone to do another degree unless you:

    A) Have a strong passion for both fields
    B) Need to for career advancement/enhancement
    C) Want to move into a new field (like me).

    My advice, finish your medical education and residency. Establish yourself professionally. Make some MONEY! Enjoy your kid(s) when he/she/they are young. Get some experience under your belt. Later, after all of this, give another degree some thought and look into it. Meanwhile, even during your residency, keep your finger on the pulse of current research into your areas of interest by reading as much of the literature as you possibly can. Staying abreast will enhance your knowledge base.

    Just my two cents. Sorry for preaching! :)
    Zack
     
  18. Poety

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    I've tried to sit down adn define my goals but I can't. I like schizophrenia research, but then again, I find autism/tics and PDD fascinating too. I DO NOT LIKE DEPRESSED PATIENTS. I pefer wroking with all psychotics or severe d/o patients.

    I like doing research and I have a lot of ideas about stuff I want to look into -especially with drug induced psychosis and its relationship to schizophrenia.

    see? Im a mess. I don't know if I want to go to an office everyday for the rest of my life and just do med checks, I love c/l but don't know if I would want to just do that either - I can't decide and I've always had this problem. Thats who I ended up with a double major and an additional minor (not even required) because I just couldn't let it go!
     
  19. ProZackMI

    ProZackMI Psychiatrist/Attorney
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    Have you matched into your psych residency yet? If not, try looking at programs at med schools or university hospitals. There are some residency programs that award post MD master's degrees. You could possibly look into that.

    If you're serious about law school, PM and we can discuss it. I can give you some tips and insight if you're interested. Don't despair; focus will come in time.
     
  20. LM02

    LM02 Senior Member
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    Sorry I missed this, poety...

    In general, being at a strong research institution will certainly work in your favor if you were interested in pursuing additional research fellowship training. However, if you're not at one, I think you just want to do what others have already recommended - get involved in some kind of research during your residency years.

    The key is to demonstrate a commitment to research - if you can articulate why you want to pursue a research career, based on your past experiences and future goals, I think you can be competitive. And yes, you could technically complete a research fellowship after a child fellowship (I actually know triple board MD who did a child fellowship followed by a T32 research fellowship - oy).
     
  21. Poety

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    Thanks LM!
     
  22. LM02

    LM02 Senior Member
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