MD-PhD Transition Program


MD-PhD training programs are defined by transitions between different phases of training: undergraduate transition to pre-clinical (basic science), medical school preclinical (basic science) transition to graduate school research training, and then back to medical school clinical training, ending with preparation for postgraduate clinical residency. Dr. Zarrinpar directs a Transition Program for Scholar Retention with specific reintegration components.

Multi-Modal Mentoring by Physician-Scientist Faculty, Advanced MD-PhD Scholars, and Transition Mentoring

Physician-Scientist Faculty

The sense of isolation and uniqueness can be countered by specific mentoring from physician-scientist faculty. While it is important to have clinical mentoring and research mentoring, it is essential to also have mentoring and advising from faculty with dual degrees (including MD-MPH, MD-MS, etc.) who engage in both clinical practice and research. We have recruited many physician-scientist faculty to serve in the program as potential mentors.

Advanced MD–PhD Scholars

We have also established an MD-PhD Scholar Council that will provide mentoring to trainees by the more senior MD-PhD students.

Specific Mentoring During Transitions (MD-to-PhD, PhD-to-MD, MD-to-residency and beyond)

Transition times can be contentious and difficult. For each appropriate class, dedicated advising sessions and mentoring will be built into the program to assist with transitions to the next step. Importantly, this will continue after the third and fourth year of clinical training to ensure that trainees are provided with adequate support in their application to residency, selection of residency programs, and even beyond.

MD-to-PhD Transition

The Directorate works closely with mentors to make sure that trainees reach milestones in their Individual Development Plans during the PhD training.

PhD-to-MD Transition

Clinical skills and clinical mentoring during PhD: Addressing the challenge of starting clinical training after several years of graduate school, Scholars may shadow physicians (Clinical Mentors) throughout the research training period, specifically increasing in frequency several weeks before beginning clinical clerkships. Trainees will have the opportunity to choose a primary Clinical Mentor for mentoring, as well as attend case presentations and patient rounds with other Clinical Mentors.

Re-immersion: A re-immersion program run by students and faculty will help enhance trainee skills (dexterity) and readiness (mental preparation, patient H&P, clinical presentations) to begin their clinical training.

Beyond Being a Trainee/Transition to Practice

The Directorate recognizes their responsibility to assure that the benefits of the training program are not lost during the two years required by the trainees to complete their MD. Scholars in late MS3 and MS4 years will meet with Dr. Zarrinpar to identify research-oriented postgraduate medical training. A number of Physician Scientists Training Programs (PSTP) have been identified.