The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) provides a program of combined MD and PhD training, requiring seven to eight years for completion. The curriculum for MD/PhD students includes the major portions of the medical school and graduate college curricula in a manner designed to minimize duplication and provide an integrated physician-scientist education. Students freely explore a wide range of opportunities for graduate study, including any of the graduate programs the College of Medicine, or in the departments of Bioengineering, Biological Sciences, or in selected programs in the School of Public Heath or the College of Pharmacy. The program recruits 6 students per year, and currently its overall size is 42 students. Support is requested for 4 students the first year, increasing to 14 students in years 4 and 5. ? ? The value of physician-scientists to biomedical research is widely recognized, as is the need for programs to bolster the number of such researchers. Compared to other physicians, MD/PhDs stand out for their scientific insight into bedside problems, and as innovative champions of progress in medicine. MD/PhD graduates have deeper perceptions of medical significance in biology than do scientists without medical education, more comprehensive understanding of the limitations in medical practice, and greater ability to transfer basic scientific advances toward patient care advances. Thus, MD/PhD graduates are positioned to identify and pursue interdisciplinary approaches to important biomedical problems, and to help bridge the basic and clinical sciences. MD/PhD programs are a major source of the nation's physician-scientists, and arguably provide the best route to such careers. ? ? ?
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