This proposal seeks support for the South Texas Medical Scientist Training Program (STX MSTP) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution in a minority-majority city. As national leader in clinical and translational research on Hispanic, military, and Veteran health issues, UTHSCSA addresses regional health disparities that present both challenges and opportunities for medical research that are of nationwide relevance. The STX MSTP provides training in traditional wet-lab biomedical science investigation while exposing students to our unique clinical environment. Our institution and the South Texas MSTP are aligned with the mission and values of UTHSCSA and the AAMC Compact between Biomedical Graduate Students and their Research Advisors. Rigorous research and clinical training and an integrated curriculum provide the skillset for a successful and productive independent career as physician-scientists in academic and private research institutions. The STX MSTP provides multiple integrative longitudinal training components that continue throughout the length of the entire training, such as recurrent workshops on Communication, Leadership, Team Science, Translational Research, Health Disparity and Outcome Research, and Entrepreneurship. Mentorship by both MD and PhD advisors, including individual development plans, is provided throughout the training, along with a wealth of career-enhancing activities. Thanks to active recruitment and continuous support, we train 31% of students are from under-represented minorities and 26% students with disabilities. Our diverse and accomplished student body is selected from a highly qualified applicant pool of students who come with significant prior research experience. We are asking for 6 training slots to allow us expand our entering class by 2 additional positions per year from the current 5 training positions to 7 training positions per year. Our request is for the first three years of their 7 to 9 years of training (MS1, MS2 and GS1 level). This proposed expansion of the STX MSTP will allow us to increase our capacity to about 54-56 fully-funded MD/PhD trainees (tuition, fees, stipend and benefits), given our time to completion for both degrees of 7.9 years.
The South Texas MSTP trains the next generation of well-rounded physician scientists in an interdisciplinary training environment with translational science and health disparities components. A special focus is on the health needs of a growing Hispanic and impoverished patient population in the US, as well as Veterans, populations with high prevalence in South Texas.
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