The University of Minnesota Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) recruits a diverse group of gifted scholars with the highest caliber intellectual skills and character traits to pursue a rigorous, supportive physician scientist training sequence that results in the awarding of both an MD and PhD in 8 years or less. The pillars of our training program are an integration of clinical medicine and scientific discovery through all phases of training, flexibility to meet the specific needs of individual students, continuous mentoring and career development, community building to promote student retention, success, and well-being, and an enduring commitment to diversity and inclusion as a foundation for excellence. Outstanding faculty preceptors provide research opportunities in the biomedical sciences, engineering, computational biology, medicinal chemistry, chemistry, epidemiology, and a new PhD opportunity in health policy. Significant investments in infrastructure and physician scientist training across the career continuum have enhanced program development and success. Our leadership team, which includes a new third Associate Director position, has clearly defined responsibilities, and three new Associate Directors with complementary skills and expertise have been appointed. Continuous quality improvement driven by feedback from our evaluation plan has resulted in refinement of our longitudinal clinical continuity program during the PhD phase, increased numbers of women and URM faculty preceptors, an expanded Women in Science and Medicine seminar program, new formal exposure of first and second year MSTP students to grant writing and other professional competencies critical for success in the PhD phase, new Research Showcase meetings to introduce new students to research opportunities, a new PhD phase MSTP orientation session, a revised IDP, a new annual progress meeting where the program meets with both the student and PhD advisor, and new resources and initiatives to help advisors continue to improve their mentoring skills. A revised student governance structure has provided more opportunities for students to develop leadership skills, lead program activities, enhance engagement with our alumni, and improve program cohesion across years. During the past funding cycle, our trainees have published in top-tier journals, and 24 trainees have been supported by NIH F30 or F31 awards. Our trainees have successfully matched in outstanding residency and PSTP programs, and are successfully moving into academic faculty positions. Our applicant pool is national in scope and total numbers are the highest ever, with a 59% increase in applications compared to 2014. We have successfully recruited an average of 9 students per year over the last 5 years while increasing our admissions yield. Our current student cohort is diverse, with 48% women and 22% from under-represented groups. A student-led diversity and inclusion group fosters an outstanding program climate and student well-being. Increased support is being requested so that we can build on this track record of success in matriculating, retaining and graduating top-tier MSTP students.
The University of Minnesota Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) provides a rigorous, supportive program of study for an outstanding and diverse group of students who will become leading physician scientists. By combining medical training with research training that will lead to new scientific discoveries, this integrated training program will help meet the nation?s critical need for investigators who can successfully translate scientific discoveries into new preventive strategies and therapies that will improve the lives of patients.
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