Nationally, trends suggest that there are diminishing numbers of academic physician investigators. Thus, there is a need to train a cadre of future scientists who can link their research to clinical care to address the trends, causes, and treatment of disease. The Indiana University Medical Scientist/Engineer Training Program (MSTP) was conceived to meet this need, and this application represents the first competitive renewal of the Indiana MSTP since its funding almost 4 years ago. A unique and notable aspect of our program is the integration of faculty within the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University to include the exceptional training of physician engineers.
The aim of the Indiana Medical Scientist/Engineer Training Program is to provide interdisciplinary, integrated medical and scientific research training to develop students into engaging physician investigators who are poised to pursue careers in hypothesis-driven research that advances human health. With the support from a large, dedicated endowment to the program, the new PI of this application (Dr. R. Mirmira, himself a graduate of an MSTP) and his Co-Director (Dr. M. Harrington) have taken important and progressive steps to enhance physician scientist training, including the introduction of clinical experiences during graduate training, expansion of seminars/enrichment activities, and institution of formal internal and external feedback policies to implement programmatic changes. In close collaboration with the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University, we have designed and implemented a flexible curriculum that provides in-depth training for students in a specific area of science and/or engineering relevant to human disease. Our program emphasizes coursework that broadens research training at the bench with quantitative skills, provides opportunities for public speaking provides a range of enriching extracurricular opportunities, and allows for integration of medicine and science/engineering throughout all years of training. Defined oversight mechanisms are in place to track the progress of trainees throughout the program. With the help of our outreach activities and the MSTP designation, our program notoriety has grown tremendously, as evidenced by a 400% increase in our applicant pool over the past 10 years and the remarkable diversity of our current student pool (23% underrepresented or with documented disabilities and 44% from out-of-state). In this competitive renewal application, we will build upon our successes and to make the necessary programmatic adjustments going forward to ensure that our trainees continue to be prepared to become future scientists and engineers who pioneer advances in medical practice through research.
Nationally, trends suggest diminishing numbers of physician scientist;as a result, there is a need to train a cadre of future scientists who can link their research to clinical care to address the trends, causes, and treatment of disease. The Indiana University Medical Scientist/Engineer Training Program was conceived to meet this need. This application describes our ongoing program to train the next generation of physician scientists who will become leaders in research and clinical care.
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