The goal of the Medical Scientist Training Program at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM-MSTP) matches that of the NIH: to prepare its graduates to function independently in both basic research and clinical investigation. The program, while emphasizing continuity between clinical and basic science curricula, is designed for students who will become future leaders in academic medicine and biomedical research. Only 5-10% of applicants from a truly exceptional national and international pool are selected to matriculate in the BCM-MSTP. The program is now in its 32nd year and currently has 96 students enrolled with 41 in medical school and 55 in graduate school phases of the program. In this academic year, 23 will be partially or fully supported by the NIH MSTP training grant, and institutional and private endowment funds dedicated to the BCM-MSTP are used to support other students. The Baylor medical school curriculum provides six months of clinical clerkships in the second year and with modifications for the MSTP effectively allows students to complete medical school in a little over three years. Located in the heart of the Texas Medical Center, the world's largest medical center, BCM offers outstanding training facilities in both clinical and laboratory settings. Thirteen graduate programs are available at BCM including several interdepartmental programs at BCM and inter-institutional programs at Texas Medical Center institutions. BCM-MSTP students can also complete their PhD in Bioengineering at Rice University. In 2005, BCM added a translational biology and molecular medicine graduate program available to our MSTP students. Sharon E. Plon, MD, PhD, FACMG, is the MSTP Director. She is supported by four Co-Directors: Martin M. Matzuk, MD, PhD, James Versalovic, MD, PhD, Powel Brown, MD, PhD and Karen Hirschi, PhD. Four of the five program directors received their training through NIH supported MSTPs. In addition to participating in MSTP-specific activities, guiding new program development and participating in the interview/selection process each MSTP director mentors a cohort of students throughout their MSTP training including regular advising meetings. Graduates of the BCM MSTP are accepted into highly competitive residency programs throughout the United States and many have received academic appointments at leading health care institutions and universities across the United States establishing their own independent research programs.
During their training BCM-MSTP students are exposed to a rich and extensive series of topics related to medical health, physiology and disease during the first two years of medical school coursework and the 20 months of clinical clerkships. Ultimately, our location within the large Texas Medical Center provides a fertile training environment of MD-PhD students of the 21st century. Baylor's International Pediatric AIDS Initiative, the International Health track curriculum and the Global Health Initiative at Rice University provide BCM- MSTP students extensive exposure to critical issues of health and disease in developing countries.
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