Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) — intramural
In the midst of this promising era of expansion in biomedical research, there is a growing concern about the serious decline in the number of physician-scientists. The physician-scientist is uniquely capable of translating basic research advances from the laboratory to the clinic. Physician-scientists are trained to ask clinically relevant questions in a health research environment that lead to development of research projects linking basic and clinical sciences. Physician-scientists are a vital force in transforming clinical observations into testable research hypotheses and translating research findings into medical advances. Physician-scientists also are a critical resource for assuring excellence in medical education, since they teach students that the basis of medicine is science and that scientific rigor should apply to patient care as well as research. As we enter the post-genomic era, physician-scientists will have the specialized perspectives required to lead evolving fields such as genetic medicine, pharmacogenetics, and bioinformatics. If this research is to be translated into patient treatment protocols, it is physician-scientists who will have the necessary training and skills to ensure that these protocols are designed and evaluated in ethical and rigorous clinical trials.
To increase the production of physician-scientists, a new paradigm is being pioneered at Distance Learning Center under a revolutionary initiative called the Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP), which is driven by a longitudinal training model that supports a national pool of minority child prodigies across a ten year regimen (7th grade through the college senior year), and a multi-institutional approach that rotates these whiz kids through basic science labs in academia, the NIH and the pharmaceutical industry. The PSTP targets racial groups which have been historically underrepresented in the medical profession for their population size, and who suffer from the health disparities gap: African Americans, Mexican Americans, Mainland Puerto Ricans, Native Hawaiians, Native Americans, and Native Alaskans. The Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) was designed to produce candidates for M.D. programs and M.D./Ph.D. dual degree programs. This comprehensive training initiative spans the junior high, senior high and college summers, and utilizes an integrated developmental regimen that prepares the students to successfully pursue a research career in medicine.