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MSTP Professional Development

Senior Physician Scientist Advisor Program

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. Some recent fall retreats themes include the following:

  • “Diversity in Physician Scientists and Their Careers and Pathways”
  • "Building Your Residency Application from Day One" 
  • “Is Good Science Enough? – A Retreat on Manuscript Writing, Getting Published, and Promoting Your Work”
  • “Leading Research Ambitions to Funding Throughout Physician Scientists’ Training & Future Careers”
  • “Selecting Mentors, Labs and Residency Pathways”

    The spring retreat consists of a program-sponsored weekend with special time is dedicated to celebrate student accomplishments, honor current year graduates, and share peer advice from older students. Recent spring retreat themes include the following:

    • “Health & Wellness during MSTP Training and Beyond”
    • “The Art and Science of Communication – A retreat focused on communication and presentation skills for physician scientists – to effectively convey information to medical, scientific, and general public audiences"
    • “Physician Scientist Career Opportunities in Industry & Academia”
    • “Innovation & the Business of Science – A retreat covering resources to support innovation in biomedical research + important skills not formally taught in MD/PhD training"
    • “Physician Scientist Networking with Horizontal Peer and Vertical Mentoring”

    Individual Development Plan (IDP)

    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.

    MSTP Transition Series

    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. 

    SessionAttendees Purpose
    MSTP Orientation Incoming M1sIntroduce incoming M1 students to MSTP Leadership, students, policies, and resources.
    M1 Study SkillsM1s Discuss study habits and skills to help with success in M1 coursework.
    Planning for M2 M1sDiscuss research rotations and planning for M2 coursework.
    Planning for PhD (2-Part Series)Rising G1s & their PIs,
    G1s & their PIs
    Plan for graduate years (designing experiments, managing time, and writing).
    Halfway CelebrationRising G3sCelebrate four years in the program, and discuss future plans/goals with MSTP Leadership.
    Planning Re-Entry (3-Part Series)Graduate student planning re-entry to medical school & their PIsPlan for re-entry to medical school.
    M4 Advising &
    Dean's Letter & Residency Applications
    Rising M4sReceive M4 advising, review MSPE, and discuss plans for residency applications.

    MSTP Faculty Mentor & Graduate Program Research Series

    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. 

    Biomedical Science Seminar / Journal Club

    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.

    Summer Forum on Clinical & Translational Research

    This weekly forum is traditionally 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. 

    Interactions with Prominent Physicians and Scientists Sessions

    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

    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, racial inequities in healthcare, LGBTQ+ Patient Care, 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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    Contact Us

    Medical Scientist
    Training Program

    Medical Sciences Building
    231 Albert Sabin Way
    PO Box 670552
    Cincinnati, OH 45267-0552

    Mail Location: 0552