This application requests continued support of the Medical Scientist Training Program at the Medical University of South Carolina. The goal is to produce physician-scientists who choose a lifelong career in biomedical research spanning the interface between the basic and clinical sciences. The program was founded in 1980 and has steadily grown to its current size of 59 students. Career outcomes of MSTP graduates to date include 2 professors holding endowed chairs, 3 associate professors, 12 assistant professors, 6 conducting research in industry, 14 in private practice, 30 still in training, and 1 position unknown. During the past 5-year period the program has significantly increased the size and caliber of the applicant pool due in part to a national recruitment plan that incorporates extensive personal contact and follow-up, distribution of a recruitment CD to individuals with MCAT scores >32, a continuously updated web site, and aggressive recruitment of outstanding candidates with recruitment scholarships. The growth in quality and quantity of our MSTP applicants and matriculants reflects MUSC's outstanding commitment to the program, as well as substantive growth and development in its overall research and training environment, and is the basis for a requested increase from 6 to 8 positions per year. Our MSTP is designed along the classical paradigm of two years (medical school), three to four years (graduate school), and two years (medical school). In addition to rigorous basic science research training, the program has added unique opportunities to gain experiences in clinical and translational research through the Translational Sciences Clinic, Translational Medicine Seminars, and a Month in the GCRC. The objectives for the next phase are to: (1) provide rigorous training in major areas of biomedical research emphasis at MUSC led by a highly collaborative core group of faculty with exceptional records of accomplishment in research and mentoring;(2) offer a carefully designed yet flexible curriculum that trains students to think independently in both basic research and clinical investigation;(3) conduct the training in a challenging, interactive environment that embraces basic, clinical and translational sciences, and on-going skills acquisition and professional development activities;(4) implement an expanded formal evaluation plan that incorporates quantitative and qualitative data, meaningful comparisons, and multiple sources of information;and (5) receive objective advice and guidance from an External Advisory Committee whose activities include reviewing program accomplishments, evaluating program processes and outcomes, and advising on future directions.
Graduates of this MST program will have received rigorous training in the basic sciences and exposure to clinical and translational research. They will be part of the future cadre of academic physician-scientists able to conduct both basic and patient oriented research. They will be capable of bridging the basic and clinical sciences and bring new and novel approaches for the prevention and treatment of human diseases.
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