The University of Chicago Growth, Development and Disabilities MD/PhD Training Program is designed to provide basic science and translational research training for a highly selective group of medical students in a combined-degree program. The Program is based on the premise that a commitment to complete both the MD and PhD degrees and to establish and maintain a research-focused career is only developed after some time in medical school (hence no attrition from this training program since 1978). Students are chosen on the basis of outstanding academic credentials, demonstrated ability in basic science, and devotion to pursuit of a research-oriented career. All students fulfill the requirements of a PhD in a particular discipline and complete the same requirements for the MD as other medical students. They are continuously and longitudinally advised by the Program Director and staff, a Student Advisory Committee, a newly-formed External Advisory Committee, and Mentors who have outstanding records of promoting the training, education and career advancement of biomedical scientists. The Program has undergone a restructuring to more closely align its training goals with the mission of NICHD to foster training in the areas of growth, development, and disabilities research and clinical specialties in pediatrics and related areas. The overall Program, its elements, and the participants are assessed via multiple evaluation tools through the year. The ultimate success is measured by the impact of the trainees'thesis research, the completion of both the MD and PhD degrees, and their long- term success as physician-scientists.
The long-standing goal of the University of Chicago MD/PhD training program in Growth, Development and Disabilities is to train outstanding physician-scientists. Formal training is provided for each degree, supplemented with ample, dedicated mentoring and advising to assure the attainment of this goal. The participants'progress is followed throughout their time in the training program and their subsequent career trajectories.
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