Enze Xing, Rieham Owda, Charisse Loder, Kathleen Collins
MD-PhD trainees constitute an important source of physician-scientists. Persistence on this challenging path is facilitated by success in garnering independent (R grant) support from the NIH. Published research tracks academic appointments and global R01 success for MD-PhD trainees but has not included information on future funding success of individual MD-PhD predoctoral grant holders. Here, we used data from the NIH RePORTER database to identify and track the funding trajectory of physician-scientists who received predoctoral grant support through the F30 mechanism, which is specific for dual-degree candidates. Male and female F30 awardees did not differ in their success in garnering K (postdoctoral training) grants, but, among F30 grant awardees, men were 2.6 times more likely than women to receive R funding. These results underscore the need for analysis of factors that contribute to the disproportionate loss of NIH-supported female physician-scientists between the predoctoral F30 and the independent R grant–supported stages.
Shohini Ghosh-Choudhary, Neil Carleton, S. Mehdi Nouraie, Corrine R. Kliment, Richard A. Steinman
The average age when physician-scientists begin their career has been rising. Here, we focused on one contributor to this change: the increasingly common decision by candidates to postpone applying to MD-PhD programs until after college. This creates a time gap between college and medical school. Data were obtained from 3544 trainees in 73 programs, 72 program directors, and AAMC databases. From 2013 to 2020, the prevalence of gaps rose from 53% to 75%, with the time usually spent doing research. Gap prevalence for MD students also increased but not to the same extent and for different reasons. Differences by gender, underrepresented status, and program size were minimal. Most candidates who took a gap did so because they believed it would improve their chances of admission, but gaps were as common among those not accepted to MD-PhD programs as among those who were. Many program directors preferred candidates with gaps, believing without evidence that gaps reflects greater commitment. Although candidates with gaps were more likely to have a publication at the time of admission, gaps were not associated with a shorter time to degree nor have they been shown to improve outcomes. Together, these observations raise concerns that, by promoting gaps after college, current admissions practices have had unintended consequences without commensurate advantages.
Lawrence F. Brass, Reiko Maki Fitzsimonds, Myles H. Akabas
Ronald J. Koenig
Postgraduate physician-scientist training programs (PSTPs) enhance the experiences of physician-scientist trainees following medical school graduation. PSTPs usually span residency and fellowship training, but this varies widely by institution. Applicant competitiveness for these programs would be enhanced, and unnecessary trainee anxiety relieved, by a clear understanding of what factors define a successful PSTP matriculant. Such information would also be invaluable to PSTP directors and would allow benchmarking of their admissions processes with peer programs. We conducted a survey of PSTP directors across the US to understand the importance they placed on components of PSTP applications. Of 41 survey respondents, most were from internal medicine and pediatrics residency programs. Of all components in the application, two elements were considered very important by a majority of PSTP directors: (a) having one or more first-author publications and (b) the thesis advisor’s letter. Less weight was consistently placed on factors often considered more relevant for non-physician-scientist postgraduate applicants — such as US Medical Licensing Examination scores, awards, and leadership activities. The data presented here highlight important metrics for PSTP applicants and directors and suggest that indicators of scientific productivity and commitment to research outweigh traditional quantitative measures of medical school performance.
Emily J. Gallagher, Don C. Rockey, Christopher D. Kontos, Jatin M. Vyas, Lawrence F. Brass, Patrick J. Hu, Carlos M. Isales, Olujimi A. Ajijola, W. Kimryn Rathmell, Paul R. Conlin, Robert A. Baiocchi, Barbara I. Kazmierczak, Myles H. Akabas, Christopher S. Williams
This Perspective discusses disparities in COVID-19 infection and outcome in ethnically diverse groups and considerations that should be taken to rectify this disparity going forward.
John M. Carethers
Marisa L. Conte, Santiago Schnell, Adrienne S. Ettinger, M. Bishr Omary
Purinergic modulators, such as dipyridamole, target multiple pathways that have been implicated in COVID-19 pathogenesis, and thus the therapeutic benefit of these should be explored.
Yogendra Kanthi, Jason S. Knight, Yu Zuo, David J. Pinsky
The 2018 National MD-PhD Program Outcomes Study highlighted the critical need to increase MD-PhD trainee diversity and close the gender gap in MD-PhD enrollment. This Association of American Medical Colleges imperative prompted us to evaluate trends in female matriculation from our institutional MD-PhD program compared with national data. Based on a 10-year review of Harvard/MIT Medical Scientist Training Program admissions, we observed a sharp and sustained increase in female matriculants for the past 5 years that is well above the national average. We report our experience with achieving gender parity among matriculants of our MD-PhD program, identify the specific stage of the admissions process where the gender balance acutely shifted, and attribute the increase in female matriculation to concrete administrative changes that were put into place just prior to the observed gender balance shift. These changes included increasing the number of faculty participants in application screening and awardee selection and establishing gender balance among faculty decision makers. We believe that adopting basic administrative practices geared toward increasing the diversity of perspectives among admissions faculty has the potential to expedite gender parity of MD-PhD matriculants nationwide and could eventually help achieve gender balance in the national physician-scientist workforce.
Temperance R. Rowell, Robert A. Redd, Donna S. Neuberg, Loren D. Walensky
In 2015, a nation-wide effort was launched to track the careers of over 10,000 MD-PhD program graduates. Data were obtained by surveys sent to alumni, inquiries sent to program directors, and searches in American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) databases. Here, we present an analysis of the data, focusing on the impact of sex, race, and ethnicity on career outcomes. The results show that diversity among trainees has increased since the earliest MD-PhD programs, although it still lags considerably behind the US population. Training duration, which includes time to graduation as well as time to first independent position, was similar for men and women and for minority and nonminority alumni, as were most choices of medical specialties. Regardless of minority status and sex, most survey responders reported that they are working in academia, research institutes, federal agencies, or industry. These similarities were, however, accompanied by several noteworthy differences: (a) Based on AAMC Faculty Roster data rather than survey responses, women were less likely than men to have had a full-time faculty appointment, (b) minorities who graduated after 1985 had a longer average time to degree than nonminorities, (c) fewer women and minorities have NIH grants, (d) fewer women reported success in moving from a mentored to an independent NIH award, and (e) women in the most recent graduation cohort reported spending less time on research than men. Collectively, these results suggest that additional efforts need to be made to recruit women and minorities into MD-PhD programs and, once recruited, to understand the drivers behind the differences that have emerged in their career paths.
Myles H. Akabas, Lawrence F. Brass
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