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what's the md/phd good for?

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by curious dummy, Nov 2, 2002.

  1. curious dummy

    curious dummy Junior Member
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    why do you guys want to be md/phd? for better pay? if you want to be a scientist, then why waste 4 extra years in school? same for docs to be. or do you guys want the md/phd because of the financial assistance? yeah i can see that free tuition and a stipened of about $17K annually is quite tempting. or you can work as BOTH a doc and a scientist? you know....like working in the er one day and in the lab the next. if this is true, then that's such a nice degree to have. thanks for reading.
     
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  3. Sonya

    Sonya Senior Member
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    Mostly, if you want a combination of research and practice.

    Granted, any MD can do research. But, the PhD brings many advantages. better training, easier to get grants, to name a few. Also, most MD research is clinical, but some do basic science research.

    If you know you are interested in purely research, I don't see to much of a point in and MD, except under a few unusual situations (types of research, that is).

    SChools will be able to weed out if you are doing it just for tuition. Also, it really is NOT a financial plus. Because, you loose the income of 4 years, as a physcian (100+K/yr)

    Usually, MD/PhDs do NOT get better pay. Because, in academics, there is inherently less pay than practicing. But, it will be easier for them to get grants, which will make research more succesful.

    Usually, you're right. To work both. But, it's usually focusing on one (your choice, or wherever you succeed). It's just more practical to have an 80%/20% split. You need to focus on one of them to suceed (again, there is a big USUALLY here, you see all types)

    Does this help?

    Sonya
     
  4. curious dummy

    curious dummy Junior Member
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    thanks for nothing sonya.........



    i'm teasing you. thanks alot !!! i was thinking of a 50/50 split. so if a doc has an md/phd and decides to be a scientist, he can just switch gears easily? one more thing, does the md/phd increase your chance of getting into those tough residencies (i.e. surgery)? thanks for your time. :)
     
  5. Sonya

    Sonya Senior Member
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    It increases chances for some residencies, actually most. If research is quite involved w/ the specialty, it certainly will. But, you will find, that research and surgery rarely go together. Not that it is impossible or discouraged, but surgery residencies are long, so there is less time for research. The surgery career is I suppose less flexible to have time for research. well, what i've heard surgery careers are not very conducive to research careers.

    It certainly helps getting residency though. and, can not imagine it to be negatively looked upon.

    not sure if you can easily switch. but, you sure have a TON of time to decide. How much you want to focus, you'll I presume really think about after residency. If you know one is your major focus, that's great. If not, you're cool. I guess, when we're that far along, we'd understand which is better for us. I have seen people do 50/50. But, somehow, it seems really impractical to be switching. I guess it'll depend a lot on the specialty, and how flexible it is.

    can he switch to just doing science after MD PhD? sure. But, if you meant, during your career going back and forth to mainly research or mainly practice, i'm guessing that's not practical. not sure, but it doesn't sound practical.
     
  6. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    Being a MD-PhD will help you become a better physician-scientist. Only MDs will truly understand clinical issues and therapies. On the flip-side, PhDs will have better training in bench research and are trained to run labs. Read this Article about Dr. Ed Stone. He's the FIRST ophthalmologist to receive a Howard Hughes Investigator Award ($1 million per year, renewable). He's an MD-PhD by training. He sees retina patients 1 day per week and then works on identifying, cloning, and characterization of new genes linked to inheritable retinal diseases for the rest of the week. I understand that Dr. Stone is an exceptional person, but he's the only one in the department who does genetic and molecular research on the eye.

    http://webeye.ophth.uiowa.edu/dept/News/20020527HHMIstone.htm

    As a MD, you'll have to complete a research fellowship or post-doc (about 3 years) to have the background needed for bench research. So why not spend the 3-4 years upfront during medical school to get the formal training as a PhD?

    In addition, being a MD-PhD does help to increase your competitiveness for residency programs. In my class, one ended up in psych at Hopkins, one went into Neurosurg at Harvard, one went into Derm at NYU, two went into ophthalmology, and one went into internal medicine at Hopkins.

    I hope this helps.
     
  7. wgu

    wgu Senior Member
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    impact factor
     
  8. sluox

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    :D exactly what i was thinking

    "XXXX XXX M.D., Ph.D."
    "Wow, this guy has two doctorates, I dig!"


     
  9. tuckp

    tuckp Junior Member
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    Flexibility, pure and simple. I don't know if I ever want to practice, but I want to choice. And I know with the MD I can make better lab choices.

    Second factor is repectibility. Eventually I want to move into international advocacy. Foreign medical doctors don't have a great reputation for respecting the public health ideas of a bench researcher. But an MD who can help them research their problem is someone useful.
     
  10. chef

    chef Senior Member
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    MDPhDs sure match well... I saw Hopkins MSTP matchlist and was impressed:

    Class of 2000

    Department of Neurology, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

    Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Boston, MA

    Department of Dermatology, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY

    Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

    Department of Pediatrics, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

    Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

    Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

    Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Boston, MA

    Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

    Department of Neurology, Stanford University Programs, Palo Alto, CA

    Department of Otolaryngology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

    Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, Cornell University, New York, NY



    Class of 2001

    Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

    Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

    Department of Neurosurgery, Harvard Combined Program, Boston, MA

    Department of Neurosurgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

    Department of Medicine, The University of Iowa

    Department of Ophthalmology, The University of Iowa

    Department of Pathology, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

    Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

    Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

    Department of Ophthalmology, The Johns Hopkins Hospital Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, Baltimore, MD
     
  11. MacGyver

    MacGyver Membership Revoked
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    To follow up on chef's post...

    I believe that Hopkins MD/PHD has a 100% first choice match rate.

    Cant get any better than that.
     
  12. mjs

    mjs Millionaire, Superhero
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    Physician-scientists have always been among the best at pushing the limits of biomedical research and this is particularly true in the past decade. As an example, look at the number of MD/PhDs involved in major breakthroughs in fields such as high throughput DNA sequencing, microarray technologies, and systems biology. It's way more than just the impact factor of two degrees that gives an MD/PhD the edge. Understanding medicine enhances one's ability to do medically relevant science.
     
  13. chef

    chef Senior Member
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    as some1 else already mentioned, it's the flexibility the dual degree offers.

    for example, if i am lucky enough to be awesome in research and identify and clone the gene responsible for obesity (i'll call it "PHAT") or for hair loss ("OWNED"gene), elucidate their mechanisms and get rid of obesity and hairloss, I will happily run my successful lab and rule teh world

    or if i happen to love clinical medicine, then i'll do the most state-of-da-art surgeries on pts and continuously strive to improve upon the existing techniques to develop more effective, less invasive, and more affordable surgical techniques.

    or if i happen to love both the resaerch and clinical work i'll combine the 2 and do both

    or if i suddely discover teh urge to run a lavish cosmetic plastic surgery private practice in beverly hills, CA and cater to the who's who of hollywood, i'll go do taht

    or i'll found my own biotech company and become the ceo/president of nasdaq100 company

    or if i don't like any of the above, screw the dual degree, i'll just practice lots of golf and become a pga tour pro!

    __
    Seriously tho, i think mdphd really offers a lot of flexiblity, which is a great thing!:clap:
     
  14. wgu

    wgu Senior Member
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    o, I was actually referring to "impact factor" as how important your research is or how much of an impact it is. I believe it is a term used when you look at how many times a specific journal article has been cited.

    ... but I also like your reason :D

     
  15. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member
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    I am thinking of doing an MD residency eventually (i am only a junior in college) in oncology/hematology. I am really interested in the molecular signaling aspect of cancer treatment and drug design, but I also want to treat patients.

    Are there any MD/PhD's out there who are interested in this sort of cancer research, and if so, what recommendations do yall have about a degree?

    Thanks a bunch!
     

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