Curriculum and Program Timeline
The Physician-Scientist is a leader who forms the link between basic biomedical science and clinical practice. In our efforts to both nurture and mold our students to achieve this goal, we focus on providing a flourishing environment through our expertise in training, mentoring and advising, and fostering community.
1. Medical School Years 1 & 2 (BUSM I & II)
The integrated problems course has special MD/PhD sections. Students critique the same cases as the MD students, but MD/PhD students are able to enhance this experience by learning the format for designing experiments and writing grants. Students learn to take a clinical case, present the essential clinical material (chief complaint, history and physical, basic lab values, tests, etc.), present it cogently, then develop a translational research question from the clinical question. This enables one to learn the basic elements of a research plan, including the rationale, hypotheses, aims, the dependent and independent variables, positive and negative controls and power analyses. Year 2 is similar to Year 1, except that students now go from a concept to the clinical trial phase. The goal is to train our Physician-Scientists to design experiments and write grant applications.
2. Laboratory Rotations (Summer Pre-BUSM I or, Post-BUSM I)
Students complete a requried 8-10 week lab rotation before formally entering the research years of study. Students receive a $4,000 stipend for this effort.
3. PhD Training
When students first enter the research (graduate) phase, they quickly assimilate in their chosen program of study as well as continue along the path of becoming a Physician-Scientist through a wide variety of opportunities during this period.
a. Teaching: In academic medicine, the role of a Physician-Scientist typically includes teaching. Teaching opportunities exist in a number of ways. Many MD/PhD students serve as teaching assistants in first- and second-year medical school courses, as tutors, and as instructors of undergraduate Biomedical Laboratory and Clinical Sciences courses. Students are also encouraged to present their research at seminars, student retreats, Student Achievement Day, and at a wide variety of scientific meetings. In addition, efforts are currently underway in the design of a course focused on teaching. Students will be taught techniques for teaching, and then have the opportunity to practice these techniques presenting to small groups of students.
b. MD800: This GMS approved course is specifically designed to help our MD/PhD students transition from their graduate science years back to the medical wards. The course is one-semester in duration, provides supervised clinical experiences that build upon and surpass those skills practiced in the M2 year by providing in the one-on-one student-patient encounters (interview and physical examination) under the supervision of a select group of clinician educators coupled with the opportunity to write and orally present a full history and physical (H/P). This course encourages students to rebuild their medical vocabulary, practice clinical reasoning and build confidence in their skills prior to entering the clinical wards as M3. MD800 is taught to our MD/PhD students by Dr. Borkan, an MD/PhD Co-Director.
4. Medical School Years 3&4
Students are generally very busy with medical school obligations throughout M3 & M4. At this stage of the program, we emphasize career development and planning, guiding students through the residency application program up through graduation. Additionally, M4 offers more flexibility; students participate in a variety of electives ranging from rotations abroad as a part of BUSM’s Global Health Program, returning to the laboratory full time for an elective block to complete any outstanding research, teaching in the M1 Introduction to Clinical Medicine Course, or prosecting in the M1 Gross Anatomy Course.