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History of MD-PhD Training at Case Western Reserve University


Perspective

MD-PhD training started at Western Reserve University in 1956, representing one of the first such programs in the country (we are unaware of any earlier program). Initially, the MD-PhD program involved a small number of students, but the program expanded after 1975, when the program received NIH funding as a Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). MD-PhD training was highly individualized and in early years was departmentally based. MD-PhD training was facilitated by the innovative integrated medical school curriculum instituted in the 1950s. This nationally-recognized program featured substantial periods of elective and free time for students to pursue their individual interests, and this feature remains to this day. Integration of the PhD and MD training components was less developed until 1968, but is now a highly developed feature of the program. After 1975, MD-PhD training was coordinated by the MSTP office, centered in the School of Medicine. The program was headed by an MSTP director who reported to the Dean of the SOM, administered the MSTP office and chaired the MSTP Steering Committee. This organization expanded opportunities for interdisciplinary PhD training and improved integration and coordination of PhD and MD training components.

 

Early Years (1956-1975) -- >