Integrated Physician Scientist Training

Integrating Science and Medicine: the MSTP training pathway

Students in the University of Minnesota MSTP participate in a variety of MSTP activities throughout all phases of training that integrate science and medicine, provide opportunities to establish mentoring relationships and expand professional networks, and promote a strong sense of community and mutual support that facilitates successful MD/PhD training.

Years one and two of medical school

  • Laboratory rotations: MSTP students conduct laboratory rotations with MSTP faculty research preceptors in 11 different graduate programs. These rotations occur before the start of the first year of medical school and during the break between year one and year two of medical school.
  • MSTP Monday Research Seminar: The MSTP Monday Research Seminar promotes the intellectual involvement of first and second year MSTP students in research and provides a venue for students to learn of the many exciting research opportunities at the University of Minnesota that might be suitable for subsequent PhD thesis research.

Graduate phase

  • MSTP Clinical Continuity and Mentoring Program: Beginning in the second year of the graduate phase, MSTP students complete a series of three year-long clinical continuity experiences. Students select a MSTP clinical mentor and meet with the mentor one-on-one for an average of one day per month. These meetings involve clinically-focused activities that are developed by the student and mentor and help the student maintain and develop clinical skills, integrate the student into the academic culture of the mentor’s clinical community, allow the student to observe the mentor in leadership activities, and provide an opportunity to learn time management skills critical to success as a physician scientist. The final clinical continuity experience prior to the student’s return to medical school emphasizes hands-on clinical activities that develop and refine the student’s patient evaluation and management skills. 
  • Clinical/Basic Science Seminar: MSTP students in the graduate phase (generally in their final year) give a formal presentation that bridges an area of basic research with a specific clinical problem. This presentation is scheduled in one of the existing research conferences held regularly by each Clinical Science Department in the Medical School. In addition to encouraging independent thought regarding the future direction of experimentation, the seminar eases the transition back to medical school by introducing the student to a specific clinical community and provides an additional opportunity to establish mentoring and networking relationships.

Years three and four of medical school

  • Research Electives: MSTP students are encouraged to utilize electives to conduct research while completing clinical training in years three and four of medical school.

Throughout MSTP training

  • MSTP Grand Rounds: MSTP students in the second year of the graduate phase work with their clinical mentor to lead a case-based small group style discussion of a clinical problem and relevant state-of-the-art science.
  • MSTP Monthly Student Meetings: Student-organized monthly meetings cover a range of topics, including research presentations by students and faculty guest speakers, career development discussions and panels, networking opportunities with other physician scientists, and social activities.
  • MSTP Annual Retreat: The student-organized retreat occurs each summer and showcases the research being conducted by students in the latter phase of graduate training, and also features presentations by guest speakers and workshops on a variety of topics relevant to MSTP training and career development.
  • Women in Science and Medicine Meetings: The MSTP Women Physician Scientist Student Association hosts monthly meetings. Each meeting is led by two MSTP students and centers on a discussion topic related to professional development, mentoring or leadership.
  • Social activities: A variety of regular social activities are organized by and for MSTP students throughout the year.