In the predominant model, students spend the first two years of medical school taking the same basic science classes as other medical students. For those trainees whose research areas require significant prior clinical training (e.g. health policy, health economics, epidemiology, etc.), students may complete their third year clinical clerkships before embarking on their PhD thesis work. During this period MD-PhD students identify potential research mentors and select a dissertation project that will commence during the third year (2-3-2 model). After completing their dissertation research, students return to medical school for completion of their clinical training. The MD-PhD program has been restructured to reflect its position as an integral part of the Clinical and Translation Science Training Program at the University of Florida. Introduction of the basic principles of CTS at this early entry point is intended to provide the foundational knowledge and experience that will allow MD-PhD trainees to make more informed decisions about how to choose the discipline, mentor and laboratory tailored to their backgrounds, interests and sense of “calling” as future clinician-scientists.
The MD-PhD program at the University of Florida has been training clinician-scientists continuously for over 30 years through intramural funding. The MD-PhD program trains clinician-scientists for a career in academic medicine with the full expectation that our MD-PhD students will become future leaders at academic medical centers worldwide. Over the past five years, the program has undergone a major restructuring and secured an increased budget to promote growth in both content, size, scope and diversity. Since the 2008-2009 academic year, the program has offered a full stipend scholarship and tuition waiver for up to 6-8 new students each year for the entire period of their training. Transfer students are also accepted after the second year of medical school from UF and other institutions. A major priority for program development is to increase diversity in trainee demographics across research interest, race/ethnicity and gender. Women and under-represented minority applicants are encouraged to apply to our program.