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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 07/10/02
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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Physician Scientist Training Program Awarded NIH Designation

Cincinnati--The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine Physician Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD program) was recently designated as a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) with the award of a five-year NIH training grant. The UC College of Medicine will receive $1 million over the next five years to provide stipend and tuition support for up to 10 MD/PhD students by the fifth year. It becomes the 40th MSTP-designated program from over 120 medical schools nationally.

This competitive NIH award represents peer recognition of the excellence in both basic and biomedical research opportunities as well as clinical training at the UC College of Medicine and the potential for future growth. It will also provide greater national visibility and additional finances to attract the very best students into the UC program. Establishment of a strong and vital MD/PhD training program as a flagship program has always been a high institutional priority and this award recognizes the ongoing commitment and abilities of faculty, students and administration and further reinforces UC's position as a major academic clinical and research training center.

The director of the Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) and principal investigator of the training grant is Leslie Myatt, PhD, who is also a professor of obstetrics and gynecology. Robert Colbert, MD, PhD, is the associate director of the program and an associate professor in the UC's Department of Pediatrics at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

UC's PSTP is a rigorous and prestigious program that culminates in the award of both MD and PhD degrees. It educates and graduates exceptional men and women with knowledge and skills in clinical practice and biomedical research. "These individuals join the small pool of physician-scientists who make disproportionate contributions to the scientific and technological advances in chemistry, molecular biology and informatics and also apply this information in a rigorously tested manner to improve the understanding, treatment and prevention of disease in a true bench to bedside manner," said Dr. Myatt. MD/PhD's are an exceptionally well-trained and successful group of individuals. They comprise only 2.5 percent of medical school graduates yet hold 50 percent of all NIH grants held by physicians.

UC's Physician Scientist Training Program has been in existence since 1985 and has graduated 31 individual MD/PhDs. Currently there are 38 students enrolled in the program who are recruited from prestigious universities including Harvard, Yale, Duke, Stanford, Brigham Young and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Five to six students are recruited each year. Combined MD/PhD training takes seven to eight years, of which the first five to six years is used to complete the basic science requirements of medical school and all PhD course work, qualifying exam and generation and defense of a research thesis. The final two years is spent completing the clinical training requirements of medical school. Previous MD/PhD graduates from UC have all gone on to residencies and fellowship training in major academic medical centers, including Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Tex.; Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC; Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, Calif.; Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.; The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.; and the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

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