The OSU College of Medicine combined degree MD/PhD program was recently recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a Medical Scientists Training Program (MSTP), making it one of fourty-five MSTP medical programs in the country.
This summer, the MSTP welcomed its most diverse entering class yet. Comprised of five men and five women, the class includes students from a variety of prestigious institutions including the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, The Ohio State University, Duke University, Cornell College, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Chicago, Rice University, Florida International University and the University of Notre Dame. During their time at Ohio State as trainees in the Medical Scientist Training Program, these ten students will complete both an MD and PhD degree, earning credit and experience with a variety of advisers and professors in both laboratory and clinical settings.
The MSTP application and selection process is the backbone of the program and its elite standing. One hundred thirty students applied for admittance into the program – a 19% increase in the applicant pool from 2010-2011; 80% of those applicants hailed from outside of Ohio. Thirty-six students were interviewed by MSTP faculty and students during the MSTP interview weekends held in the Fall/Winter. Fourteen accepted students returned for the MSTP Second Look weekend, an event which incorporates both the Wexner Medical Center’s Research Day and the College of Medicine Admissions Office “Second Visit.” The accepted students were ultimately selected on the basis of their research experience, academic track record, evident passion for a physician-scientist career, diversity, and general fit into the fabric of the OSU MSTP.
Edward Briercheck is entering his sixth year as an MSTP MD/PhD trainee at the College. He offers some insight for the incoming class of students on the unique lessons learned and where the MSTP program might take them as they progress through it. “The MSTP has taught me how much of a team effort patient care really is. That pill we give a patient in the clinic literally has hundreds of hard working people with diverse skills behind it. If we're going to be looking for the next cure we have to know how to identify and work with all of those individuals. The nature of the MSTP dual degree program has allowed me to begin developing the skills to make that synergy happen.”
Steven Scoville is a third year MSTP student and sees the program as a springboard into a career that blends providing patient care with conducting research. “My inspiration really stems from a strong desire to not only see and treat patients but also have the skills and knowledge to know how to find cures and improve the care for patients with a certain disease. This is also an exciting time to be around because the research knowledge and tools are improving at an exponential rate and there is an increasing need to be able to convert those discoveries to the bedside to help patients and having an MD and PhD puts me in a position to really do that.”