Research during the early years of medical education trains medical students in quantitative reasoning, and scientific literacy as well as expose them to a mentors who have devoted their careers to investigation. It thus sharpens their understanding of the processes by which the practice of medicine develops and improves as well as stimulating their interests in research careers. The curriculum at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University now requires that all medical students produce a ?Scholarly Effort? before graduation expanding our pool of applicants. Research in basic and clinical aspects of Diabetes, Endocrinology, Obesity, Kidney, Urology and Digestive Diseases is particularly strong at our medical school with more than 60 investigators having current RO1 grants. Over the past 4 years, 70 of our students applied each year to enter the T35 training program. While we had initially asked for an annual support of 8-12 students, there were many more qualified applicants and through re-budgeting of our non-training funds we were able to fund 52 students working in these areas (~13/year). The students attended weekly seminars in important topics including career development and the responsible conduct of research. In addition, we hosted a weekly journal club specific for NIDDK trainees where mentors discussed their current research using their publications in high impact journals. We acted as a regional center for medical student research in NIDDK funded fields recruiting 5 additional students who worked with our mentors. The outcomes have exceeded our expectations, 10 of our students over this short period decided to dedicate an additional year of research to their projects; 7 of them had published peer-reviewed papers and 14 presented their work at national and international meetings. Building on our success, we have recruited 35 NIDDK funded mentors to train the future group of medical students. The Program will be supervised by a recruitment and admission committee that will choose the students from the applicant pool, a committee that follows their progress and an internal advisory committee that helps the PI/PD in running the program. Finally, a career development committee will aid the students in making important career decision as they progress through medical school. Recruitment of under-represented minorities among mentors and students is strongly supported by leadership of the College and University and by targeted efforts of this Program.

Public Health Relevance

The burden of diabetes and other hormonal diseases, kidney and gastro-intestinal and liver diseases represent some of the major health problems in the US and the world at large. The mandate of NIDDK is to reduce this burden through innovative research. We have supported 52 students in the past 4 years in research by medical students in laboratories of successful scientists who investigate the nature and treatment of these diseases. Early exposure to exciting research is the best inducement for young physicians to enter a career of investigation and thus provide the next generation of researchers

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
NRSA Short -Term Research Training (T35)
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Application #
Study Section
Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases D Subcommittee (DDK)
Program Officer
Castle, Arthur
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
Zip Code
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