MD-PhD Two-Week Orientation
Incoming MD-PhD scholars arrive on campus two weeks prior to the MD-PhD Orientation, typically scheduled during the second week of July. The morning of the first day is devoted to an introduction to the program’s handbook, a semester-by-semester description of the MD-PhD Program, and a review of the program’s long-term outcomes. A major part of Orientation is the development of an idea for a Patient-Oriented Clinical Research Study (the Practicum). As part of this exercise, the MD-PhD cohort will consider practical, ethical, and regulatory aspects of clinical study design. Mornings for the following days are spent in group meetings and presentations related to the Practicum, as well as initial sessions of the Leadership Curriculum. Afternoons are set aside for the Introduction to Clinical & Translational Research (GMS 7093) lectures that address issues raised in morning practicum planning. These lectures (given by experienced clinical investigators) are also attended by graduate students, postdocs, career development awardees and new faculty from throughout the Health Science Center, providing the new MD-PhD Scholars built-in opportunities to establish their UF HSC network.
The Practicum is a group clinical research project begun in Orientation and completed two years later in GS1. Scholars will work on their projects throughout MS1 & MS2.
The eight years of the MD-PhD training program are divided into three segments: the 21-month medical school pre-clinical Phase (MS1 & MS2), the roughly four years of PhD training (GS1-GS4), followed by the final two years of Medical School (MS3 & MS4). The PhD degree is conferred upon completion of graduate training; likewise, the MD degree is conferred upon the completion of medical training. Some variation of the timeline can occur when trainees have prior coursework or laboratory experience to shorten their training needs, or when a trainee needs more time to complete a PhD thesis. Trainees should consult both the MD-PhD Handbook and the IDP Milestones Checklist for more details.
Components of MS1 & MS2
- The curriculum for MS1 & MS2 is a patient-oriented, systems-based approach with small group learning, simulation, communication, and clinical skill building, fairly typical of U.S. Medical Schools and fulfilling the requirements for LCGME accreditation (2015). Trainees should consult the MD-PhD Handbook for more details
- The Deep Dive into Basic Science (DIBS) Course is a Discovery Pathway Track, held on Thursday afternoons for most weeks during the MS1 and MS2 pre-clinical curricula. An additional ten-week period in the Summer term is for laboratory experiences, including the 2-3 laboratory rotations prior to selection of PhD mentors. The content of in-depth discussions, demonstrations, technologies, and journal clubs will be related to the materials presented in the MS1 and MS2 curricula for that week.
- Initial Mentored Research Experiences introduce scholars to 2-3 research laboratories in which they can consider conducting their dissertation research. These research rotations must be undertaken with one of the many UF MD-PhD mentors (will link this to the new mentor page), with the assistance of at least one member of the MD-PhD Directorate. When selecting their rotation labs, scholars (in consultation with the Directorate member) should consider the mentors’ background, research interests, and active grant funding.
Mentored Research for PhD Degree (GS1-GS4)
Prior to Mentor Selection, the MD-PhD scholars will take the Entering Research curriculum at the start of GS1. This interactive curriculum introduces scholars to the culture of research and teaches them skills for successfully navigating their mentoring relationships. When each scholar has matched with their Mentor, they will develop a schedule for meeting regularly to develop the scholar’s Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP will include specifics on the scholar’s didactic training, mentored research, and career development activities over the four years of graduate training (GS1-GS4), and must be submitted to the MD-PhD Directorate for review and approval. The scholar will be asked to create a multidisciplinary mentoring committee to provide advice not only on research, but also on professional and skill development. Each Scholar should identify a clinical mentor (please see Clinical Training) and preferably two additional faculty from different disciplines/departments/colleges.
The Didactic coursework for the PhD degree will vary between PhD curricula across the participating PhD Programs offered throughout. The PhD degree at UF requires at least 90 credit hours. A Qualifying Exam, usually undertaken in GS2, is required to continue dissertation research.