M3 & M4: Physician-Scientist Training and Career Development

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.

Additionally, the co-directors have created two training innovative programs that foster career development and harness the special strengths and mission of BUSM and Boston  Medical Center.

A. Translational Research in Underserved Population

The goal of the Translational Research in Underserved Population program is to design translational improvements that bridge the gap between basic science and clinical medicine. BUSM/BMC serve patients with distinct social, cultural, and economic challenges that limit the quality of healthcare. This program integrates innovative healthcare projects into MD/PhD training and promotes critical thinking based on our students’ personal encounters with our underserved, urban patients. MD/PhD students in their M4 year who choose this project will generate a one-page NIH style Aims page on their research project. The disease-centered projects will address a specific clinical or scientific dilemma confronting our patient population of interest to each student.

B. CTSI Clinical Informatics

The goal of the Clinical Informatics program is to learn research methods to evaluate large databases important for medical scientists. This elective program will address a current demand for computational research skills in biology and medicine. An M4 MD/PhD student will be assigned to a faculty mentor and together they will facilitate both project design and analysis with interested graduate students in years G2-G3. Students will present their research projects during lunch seminars open to all BU MD/PhD and PhD students. Projects will be geared to data analysis that involves healthcare of our under-represented patients. All projects will be presented to the entire MD/PhD community, an open to all PhD students and faculty mentors at a Thursday night event hosted by participating faculty and the Director of the Bioinformatics Program. The winner and runner up will receive cash prizes that can be used to support attendance at a scientific conference