The National M.D./Ph.D. Student Conference was established in 1986 by the students of the University of Colorado Medical Scientist Training Program. The objective of the conference is to provide a forum that brings together dual degree students from across the nation to present their own research and to hear from featured scientists performing exceptional research in a variety of biomedical disciplines. It is the only national meeting held specifically for students in dual degree programs. The cornerstone of the conference is the presentation of student research. The meeting has been expanded such that 18 students are competitively chosen to give oral presentations. An additional 120 students are selected to present their work during one of the poster sessions. Five distinguished speakers are invited to give the keynote lectures of the conference. The conference has consistently attracted exceptional scientists including Nobel Laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences to speak. These speakers not only present their innovative research, but also serve as role models and provide guidance for the student participants. Additionally, a panel discussion is held which focuses on residency and career options for dual degree students. This exposes students to the wide range of training opportunities and career paths which exist for M.D./Ph.D. graduates, and is often an important formative step for students'decisions regarding their future directions. The conference is organized in a multi-disciplinary format. This produces a broad appeal to all students and provides every student who registers an opportunity to present his or her research regardless of the field of study. It also allows the selection of featured speakers based on the timeliness and impact of their work without limitations imposed by a specific theme. Finally, the multi- disciplinary format promotes the integrative and collaborative goal of the physician-scientist and translational "bench-to-bedside" research.
The relevance of this meeting grant to the US public health is direct and with a long-term impact. This is the only national meeting that brings together MD/PhD students, which is precisely the group that will become the future leaders in academic medicine. These are the physician-scientists who will be making the discoveries leading to the cure of disease, improved prevention protocols, novel therapies, and creative biomedical engineering solutions. As such, the impact of this meeting to the current and future public health of the US is of immense significance.