On August 4, FASEB submitted comments to a Request for Information (RFI) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) regarding training physician scientists through the Medical Scientist (MD-PhD) Training Program (MSTP). The RFI sought input on a wide variety of topics related to four overarching themes: 1) MD-PhD trainees; 2) training programs; 3) financing and funding training; and 4) NIGMS oversight of MSTP grants and programs.
FASEB provided detailed responses on a number of topics:
- Candidates for MD-PhD programs should have prior research experience. While MSTP applicants often apply prior to entering medical school, opportunities should exist for medical students to gain research experience while in medical school and then apply to a dual degree program.
- Changing the funding model for MSTP-supported MD-PhD training could negatively impact the number of applicants, especially those from populations underrepresented in medicine.
- NIGMS should not prescribe the duration of MD-PhD training, but should let individual programs decide what training model works best for them and their students.
See FASEB’s complete response.
NIGMS created the MSTP in 1964 to provide funding to institutions offering dual-degree programs in both medicine and scientific research. Today there are MSTP-supported training programs at 47 institutions across the country, although not all MD-PhD or other dual-degree training programs are supported through the MSTP. MSTP graduates go on to make significant contributions to the biomedical and clinical sciences through careers in academic medicine, industry research, and regulatory affairs, and in many other administrative and training positions.