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The Senior Physician Scientist Advisor Program pairs students with Senior Physician Scientist (SPS) Mentors. Students and advisors are matched based on clinical interests and research expertise. Students meet with their SPS mentors at least twice a year
throughout their MD/PhD training. This program is designed to guide students in decision making and prepare them for their future careers.
Each year, all MSTP students, leadership, and staff participate in two retreats, one during the fall semester and the other in the spring. Both retreats are concentrated, structured educational experiences around core themes. Retreat topics rotate, allowing for comprehensive coverage during each student’s training. Retreat topics and speakers emphasize inclusivity, diverse perspectives, career exploration of common and non-traditional research careers, career development, oral and written communication skills, resilience, federal and non-federal funding sources, networking, and developing/working/thriving in healthcare and research teams. Student and alumni presentations are part of these events, and the retreats foster camaraderie among students in all stages of the program. Retreats also feature speakers in different stages of their training and careers, such as residents, fellows, junior faculty, and senior faculty, to provide opportunities for networking and vertical integration of pre- and post-graduate physician scientist training.
The fall retreat is a full-day event focused on career development. Recent fall retreats themes include “Diversity in Physician Scientists and Their Careers and Pathways”, “Is Good Science Enough? – A Virtual Retreat on Manuscript Writing, Getting Published, and Promoting Your Work”, “Leading Research Ambitions to Funding,” and “Selecting Mentors, Labs and Residency Pathways”.
The spring retreat consists of a program-sponsored weekend getaway to an off-campus location. Recent spring retreats focused on “Health & Wellness during MSTP Training and Beyond”, “Giving Effective Presentations and Feedback”, “Physician Scientist Career Opportunities in Industry & Academia”, “Team Building and Effective Communication”, and “Building Your Residency Application from Day One”. At the spring retreat, special time is also dedicated to celebrate student accomplishments, honor current year graduates, and share peer advice from older students.
The UC MSTP is proud to be the first MSTP in the country to have developed a web-based IDP available to all students and specific to the MD/PhD program. The IDP is designed to facilitate success in the MSTP by empowering students to develop and track
their goals and milestones.
The Transition Series is one of the most attractive and unique features of our program. It was constructed by our leadership team based on feedback from our students and faculty, and it is highly regarded by applicants and current students. This important series provides timely support and guidance to students prior to each critical transition point in their MD/PhD training. The meetings are led by members of MSTP Leadership and also include peer advice sharing from MSTP students in later years of their training. Additionally, the attendees at each session receive various MSTP-created resources that provide helpful information and reminders to keep students on-track with their training timeline and goals.
In this weekly series, MSTP M1 students gather to meet with research faculty and graduate program directors. These meetings introduce students to the wide variety of research areas available at UC and CCHMC, giving students an overall picture of MSTP
graduate programs, and ultimately aiding students in selecting lab rotations, graduate programs, dissertation advisors, and dissertation committee members.
Students participate in a weekly journal club designed to bridge basic science and translational research with clinical practice. Student leaders choose journal articles for use as case studies on a given topic and engage in lively discussions.
The course provides valuable experience to students in critiquing papers, discussing the scientific questions being addressed, and learning how to take all the data gathered and deliver a clear narrative. The fall semester course curriculum often
focuses on different lab techniques, and incorporates MSTP graduate student co-presenters knowledgeable on the different methods. The spring semester course curriculum typically expands upon topics in the concurrent medical school curriculum.
This course is a student favorite! It is a weekly forum created in partnership with our institutional CTSA and is centered on translational research. The forum is historically divided into three modules: Designing Research, Conducting Research,
and Interpreting Research. The final module focuses on quantitative methods. Some semesters focus on "hot topics" in research and medicine (ex: "COVID & Fast Track Publishing," "Telehealth," "Genome Editing & Gene Therapy in
Practice," "Organoids & Clinical Practice," etc.), and incorporate different faculty co-presenters who are knowledgeable on each topic.
While seminars and course work are important components of MD/PhD training, it is crucial that students also directly interact with prominent figures in research and medicine. The UC MSTP connects students with dynamic leaders through program alumni, distinguished guest
lecturers, and small-group meetings. Meetings facilitate discussion on the career paths and experiences of prominent physician scientists, and provide opportunities for students to receive guidance in their individual training and career planning.
Program Meetings are bi-monthly gatherings of all MSTP students, leadership and staff which foster camaraderie among students in all stages of the program. At the start of these meetings, trainee successes and milestones (including personal milestones such as engagements/weddings and births of children) are recognized and celebrated. These meetings provide a venue for dissemination of program information, discussion of relevant program topics including those raised by the Student Governing Council (SGC). The latter portion of the meeting is devoted to student research presentations. Depending on the meeting agenda, some program meetings also include additional supplemental presentations, including interactive clinical case presentations by faculty; educational sessions and workshops on topics such as DEI (unconscious bias, allyship, responding to microaggressions in the workplace, Title IX) and the prioritizing of scientific rigor, reproducibility and transparency in research; and student presentations promoting valuable - but not widely known academic/research opportunities on both national and institutional levels.
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