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MD vs MD-PhD vs PhD 2015_slides & handout

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Are you trying to decide whether to pursue an MD, an MD-PhD or a PhD? Do you want to learn the differences in conducting research and the training that is involved with each of these career paths? Come to this workshop to hear the story of how one MD-PhD navigated through these questions, and about a research study (McGee and Keller, 2007) that investigated differences between MD, MD/PhD, and PhD students and their professional trajectories.

This workshop was given by Michael Penn, MD-PhD, and Steve Lee, PhD.

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MD vs MD-PhD vs PhD 2015_slides & handout

  1. 1. MD vs. MD/PhD vs. PhD: Which is right for you? Steve Lee, PhD Graduate Diversity Officer for the STEM Disciplines UC Davis Michael Penn, MD, PhD Vice President of Diversity, Outreach, and Mentoring Gladstone Institutes
  2. 2. Why Did I Pursue an MD-PhD? I believed I could be a competitive applicant I believed that I was genuinely interested in learning science and medicine Ego—I considered it to be the ultimate achievement It was FREE!!! 2 Part A: M. Penn
  3. 3. Key Milestones During My MD-PhD I am going to COMPETE! Drinking from the fire hose Finding my rhythm Fearing the abyss of graduate school Discovering the joy of being a knowledge creator Finding my depth Resurfacing Seeing the finish line clearly 3
  4. 4. What Did I Ultimately Learn? I can achieve anything! I am more than my achievements Living to please other people is stressful Self care is essential to sustained performance Burnout is avoidable Expect to be surprised I can’t completely predict what my future will look like There are no wrong decisions I can learn from every experience I wouldn’t change any part of my journey! 4
  5. 5. Find info on training and career options search online, attend conferences, etc Do informational interviews with people talk to people at multiple stages listen to their stories & their reflections Consult a research study that followed students in PhD, MD, MD/PhD programs Try temporary experiences summer research programs, volunteer, intern, etc How will you decide? 5
  6. 6. Let’s consult a research study 6 Rick McGee and Jill Keller studied students at the Mayo Clinic They noticed significant differences between PhD and MD students McGee and Keller, CBE-Life Sciences Education, 2007, p 316. Part B: S. Lee
  7. 7. Research Study Methods 7 Student participants (n = 26) undergrads in summer research program rising juniors and seniors average GPA = 3.69 Study Design individual interviews and open-ended questions 3 interviews: at start & end of summer, and 8-12 months after followed participants into training (PhD, MD, or MD/PhD) programs
  8. 8. McGee & Keller noted themes that did NOT differentiate Both PhD and MD students expressed strong themes in their interviews Self confidence took leadership roles asked questions pro-actively Action-oriented took action to improve situations themselves 8
  9. 9. They noted 5 strong themes that did differentiate Students who chose research training in PhD programs expressed these themes included those in MD programs with research emphasis This was in contrast to students who chose MD programs and focused on clinical medicine 9
  10. 10. McGee & Keller noted 5 themes among those in research training 1. curiosity to discover the unknown (as a motivator to do research) 2. enjoyment & persistence in problem solving 3. a high level of independence 4. the desire to help others indirectly through research 5. a flexible, sometimes ill-defined approach to the future 10
  11. 11. Please note these precautions: you don’t need all themes to find a fit not all themes were found in all research vs clinical bound students your interests and preferences can change you are still growing and developing not all MD’s just see patients some MD’s focus on research not all PhD’s just work on the bench there’s lots of options after a PhD 11
  12. 12. So, how will you decide? 1. Find info on training and career options 2. Conduct informational interviews with people doing these options 3. Consult a research study that followed students in PhD, MD, MD/PhD programs 4. Try temporary experiences 12 Do all methods!
  13. 13. Thanks for your participation! 13 What from this session has helped? What action items will you do? Do you have any remaining questions? ! ! ?
  14. 14. 1 MD vs. MD/PhD vs. PhD: Which is right for you? Sunday, October 11, 2015 12-12:45 pm – Giedt 1002 1-1:45 pm – Giedt 1002 Description Are you trying to decide whether to pursue an MD, an MD-PhD or a PhD? Do you want to learn the differences in conducting research and the training that is involved with each of these career paths? Come to this workshop to hear the story of how one MD-PhD navigated through these questions, and about a research study (McGee and Keller, 2007) that investigated differences between MD, MD/PhD, and PhD students and their professional trajectories. Presenters Michael Penn, MD, PhD Vice President of Diversity, Outreach, and Mentoring Gladstone Institutes michael.penn@gladstone.ucsf.edu Steve Lee, PhD Graduate Diversity Officer for the STEM Disciplines UC Davis stnlee@ucdavis.edu Part A: Questions to Consider that May Give You Clues About the Right Path 1. How long do I want to be in school/training? 2. If I was wealthy, would I still pursue this career path? 3. Am I confident that I understand enough about the day-to-day lifestyles of physicians and researchers? 4. Do I thrive when helping others directly (MD-like) or indirectly (PhD-like)? 5. Does my mind gravitate more toward knowing (MD-like) or understanding/questioning (PhD-like)? 6. Do I like structured learning (MD-like) or open-ended, exploratory approaches to learning (PhD- like)? 7. How comfortable am I carrying educational debt? Career Path Comparison Table MD MD PhD PhD Ability to create new knowledge limited high high Self-directed learning medium mixed high Structured learning high mixed low Duration of study 4 years 6+ years avg. 4 - 6 years Direct interaction with patients high high generally none Requires significant memorization high high medium Cohesive classmate culture high high low/medium Flexible schedule low mixed high Class size large mixed generally small Small group learning varies mixed high Debt incurred for tuition/living expenses high limited to none limited to none
  15. 15. 2 How to decide between MD vs MD/PhD vs PhD pathways: ● Find info on training and career options ○ search online, attend conferences, etc ● Conduct informational interviews with people doing these options ○ talk to people at multiple stages of their careers ○ listen to their stories and their reflections ● Consult a research study that followed students in PhD, MD, MD/PhD programs ● Try temporary experiences ○ summer research programs, volunteer, internships, etc Part B: Consulting a research study “Identifying Future Scientists: Predicting Persistence into Research Training” Richard McGee and Jill L. Keller, CBE–Life Sciences Education, 2007, Vol 6, pp 316-331. McGee & Keller noted 5 themes differentiating those in research training (PhD) 1. Curiosity to discover the unknown (as a motivator to do research) 2. Enjoyment & persistence in problem solving 3. A high level of independence 4. The desire to help others indirectly through research 5. A flexible, sometimes ill-defined approach to the future They observed 2 themes that did not differentiate. Both MD and PhD-bound students expressed: • Self-confidence: took leadership roles; asked questions pro-actively • Action-oriented: took action to improve situations themselves Please note these precautions: ● Don’t think you need to have all features to find a fit or match ○ Not all themes were found in all research (PhD) vs clinical (MD) bound students ● Your interests and preferences can change and develop ○ You are still growing and developing ● Not all MD’s just see patients ○ Some MD’s do research ● Not all PhD’s just work on the bench ○ There’s lots of options after a PhD

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