This application requests continued support of the Medical Scientist Training Program at the Medical University of South Carolina. The major goal is to train the next generation of physician-scientists who will choose a career that will conduct research that integrates both the basic and clinical sciences to improve human health and treat diseases. The program was originally founded in 1980 and has steadily grown to its current size of 56 students, with 37% females. Career outcomes of our 100 graduates to date are: 3 professors, all holding endowed chairs, 7 associate professors, 15 assistant professors, 6 conducting research in industry, 10 clinical professors/instructors, 14 in private practice, 43 in training and 2 deceased. For the last 10 years the attrition rate was 5%. The applicant pool continues to be strong with a 58% increase over the past five years. This increase in our trainee candidate pool reflects a combination of MUSC's exceptional research environment, our MSTP students'outstanding accomplishments, and the program's national recruitment efforts, which includes personal contacts and a recruitment letter with brochure sent to students who took the MCAT and received a score of >32 or better. The growth in the quality and quantity of our applicants provides the basis for the requested increase in positions from 8 to 9 per year. Our program is designed along the classical 2,4,2 year paradigm, however, there is considerable flexibility built into it. In addition to rigorous basic science research training and medical schol, trainees gain experiences in translational research via the Translational Sciences Clinic, a month in the Clinical and Translational Research Center and the Translational Medicine Seminar series. The objectives for the next phase are to: 1) continue the rigorous research training in areas of biomedical research by collaborative and highly accomplished faculty with exceptional records of training and research, 2) offer a training program that challenges students to think independently and critically, 3) conduct the training in a challenging, interactie environment that embraces basic, clinical and translational sciences, 4) utilize individualized development plans to enhance the training experience, and 5) continue the rigorous and formal evaluation of the program that uses both quantitative and qualitative data to ensure the most rigorous, effective and efficient training.
This training program supports students pursuing the dual MD/PhD degree who will receive rigorous and directed training in the basic and clinical sciences and exposure to translation research. They are expected to be future academic physician-scientists able to conduct both basic and clinical/translational research. They will be capable of bridging the basic and clinical sciences in order to perform research at the cutting edge and become leaders in their respective fields.
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