MD-Ph.D. program receives prestigious NIH Medical Scientist Training Program grant – VCU News

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine MD-Ph.D. programwhich allows students to obtain both a medical degree and a doctorate in biomedical sciences, received a Medical Scientist Education Program Award of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a division of the National Institutes of Health. The MSTP award recognizes dual-degree programs that maximize training efficiency, promote research careers, and enhance the diversity of the physician-researcher workforce.

“This award elevates the VCU School of Medicine into an elite category,” said Michael Donnenberg, MD, program director who is also senior associate dean for research and research training. “Just over 50 medical schools in the United States have received this designation, and even fewer combine an MSTP award with an NIH Clinical and Translational Science award and an NCI-designated cancer center. We now hold the Triple Crown of NIH Institutional Awards.

The five-year, $1.2 million MSTP grant will partially cover tuition and stipends for up to six trainees per year, allowing the School of Medicine’s program to grow and better meet the needs of society in the advancement of medical care.

“With the support of this MSTP grant, more people will be able to combine comprehensive clinical training with the intense research training gained while earning a PhD, through our dual degree program,” said David Chelmow , MD, acting dean of the VCU School of Medicine. “This unique combination of knowledge and skills provides fertile ground for scientific discovery, creating a bridge between research and clinical care that facilitates the movement from bench to bedside of new treatments and prevention strategies.”

The VCU School of Medicine has a recognized MD-Ph.D. program since 1986. In 2006, the program expanded and began providing full tuition support and stipends to all students. Currently, 45 students are enrolled in the program and 137 alumni, many of whom hold important positions in academia, government agencies and industry.