This is an application for renewal of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Medical Scientist Training Program, which is now in its 39th year. The Program seeks to train MD-PhD students for positions of leadership in academic medicine and medical research. Since our last submission in 2009, completed AMCAS applications have remained high, averaging 436 per year. Interviews are extended to approximately 15% of those applicants who complete both the AMCAS and Hopkins Secondary applications. Applicants invited for interviews have outstanding academic records (mean GPA 3.92), excellent MCAT scores (average total 38), significant laboratory research experience, and high motivation for careers in biomedical research and clinical medicine. Approximately 10-12 students enter the Program each year and on average 10 students receive MSTP awards. The average length of study for the combined degrees is 8 years (which is also the national average). There are currently 116 MD-PhD students in the Program; 96 have MSTP awards. Currently, 21.3% of the 116 students enrolled in the Hopkins Program are underrepresented in medicine. Students generally take two years of preclinical science courses in medical school and then enroll in one of 30 available graduate programs for approximately four years. Students in the Hopkins Program have a pool of over 1000 Hopkins faculty from which to select a potential mentor. During this time, students take advanced courses and complete thesis research, publishing an average of 6.1 peer-reviewed papers, before returning to the final required clinical clerkships and electives in medical school. In 2013, Andrea Cox, M.D., Ph.D. was appointed as Co- Director of the Hopkins MSTP. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Oncology, an active research scientist, and a board certified and practicing infectious disease specialist. Therefore, Dr. Cox brings to the MD-PhD leadership team a perspective on clinical medicine as well as basic research. From this point forward, Drs. Cox and Siliciano will co-direct the MD-PhD Program. Dr. Robert Siliciano, has been Director of the Program since 1999 and will continue co-directing the Program with Dr. Cox. The Co-Directors head a 26-member MD-PhD Committee that admits applicants and formulates policies for the Program. The committee members also assist the Co-Directors in advising trainees and evaluating student progress. The Program has been highly successful in fulfilling the goals initially set fort by the NIH. Since the inception of the Hopkins MSTP grant (1980-first graduates), 350 MD-PhD students have graduated from the Program. Of the 270 graduates who have completed postgraduate training and begun their careers, 83% are in medical research positions. This includes those in academic medicine (67%), those at research institutes such as the NIH (6%) and those in the pharmaceutical or biotech industries (10%).
Progress towards solving major health problems will require a steady source of well-trained new investigators who have the clinical background to appreciate major medical issues and the research skills to tackle them. Over the years, MD-PhD programs have proven to be a highly effective way to train such investigators. We seek here funding to continue a highly successful MD-PhD Program at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
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