Organizers: Erica Friedman, David Muller, and Karen Zier (Mount Sinai School of Medicine) & Sonya Dougal and Monica Kerr (The New York Academy of Sciences)Presented by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and the New York Academy of Sciences
Reported by Adrienne J. Burke | Posted May 1, 2012
Laboratory experimentation has been included in physician training since at least 1839 when Yale University first incorporated a research thesis into its medical school graduation requirements. While Yale has maintained that curricular requirement ever since, and many other medical schools have incorporated research programs, conducting research is not universally required to earn an MD.
Educators say that undertaking basic research can help medical school students sharpen the analytical, creative, and critical-thinking skills that the practice of medicine demands. And in the contemporary environment of rapidly advancing science, uniting medical education with scientific research is seen as a crucial way to ensure that scientific discoveries are translated to clinical practice as expediently as possible. Exposing medical students to research might also lead some to consider career paths that include investigation—historically a rarity among medical school graduates. The outcome of a student's research project aside, the opportunity for a physician-in-training to develop a relationship with a research mentor is considered by many to be invaluable, with career-long benefits.
For these reasons and others, some argue that immersion in a research experience should be a core component of medical training, whether the student intends to pursue a career as a translational scientist or as a rural primary care physician. Nevertheless, others question the wisdom of mandating a research experience, especially when so much required content is already crammed into the modern medical school curriculum. Before loading another core requirement onto students, there are questions to be answered: Does research experience create a better physician? Does it ultimately lead to improved patient care? Is it misguided to encourage MDs-in-training to consider careers in research when competition for investigator posts is already so intense that many PhDs are forced to find alternative careers?
On February 24, 2012, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and the New York Academy of Sciences presented Integrating Student Research into the Medical School Curriculum, a symposium exploring these questions as well as the logistical challenges of incorporating research into the medical school curriculum. Medical educators representing a cross-section of U.S. institutions described the nuts and bolts of their research programs and explored the pros and cons of mandatory medical student research for diverse types of medical careers. A panel of current medical students and recent graduates described their own research experiences and shared opinions for how research experiences could be improved.
Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.
Presentations available from:
Louise Aronson, MD, MFA (University of California, San Francisco)
Laurence C. Baker, PhD (Stanford University School of Medicine)
Liselotte N. Dyrbye, MD, MHPE (Mayo Clinic)
John N. Forrest, Jr., MD (Yale University School of Medicine)
Philip A. Gruppuso, MD (The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University)
Allen L. Humphrey, PhD (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine)
David Muller, MD (Mount Sinai School of Medicine)
Frederick P. Ognibene, MD (National Institutes of Health Clinical Center)
Gordon J. Strewler, MD (Harvard Medical School)
Karen Zier, PhD (Mount Sinai School of Medicine)
To view media from the conference's student panel discussion please visit the The Student Perspective: Integrating Student Research into the Medical School Curriculum eBriefing.
This meeting is part of our Translational Medicine Initiative, sponsored by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and The Mushett Family Foundation.