Psychiatric Residency + PhD Track
The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai has been awarded NIMH support for an extraordinary program that offers a second path to MD/PhD training. This is an integration of PhD training with psychiatry residency training, over seven years. We plan to offer two places in this track each year. It is designed for those who are committed to psychiatry, and also committed to becoming trained at the PhD level in genetics or neuroscience, which will equip them to do sophisticated academic work in those disciplines. This opportunity is unique in the nation, and also offers substantial financial advantages through the NIH’s Loan Repayment Program.
The 2008 National Advisory Mental Health Council Workgroup on Research Training Report stated “It is widely believed that MD/PhD investigators bring a unique perspective to their research programs because of the blend of clinical and research perspectives honed through graduate and medical education, residency and fellowship. In addition, MD/PhD investigators may be well-trained for translational research careers.” This view has led to MD/PhD having high rates of grant funding from NIMH.
The fields of neuroscience and genetics have developed such depth in terms of knowledge base, research strategies and research techniques that PhD training (or its equivalent) may be a necessity for effective translational research and obtaining research funding. Unfortunately, the number of psychiatrist MD/PhD researchers is small. The NIH and NIMH substantially support Medical Scientist Training Programs and individual MD/PhD students, and have done so over many years. However, the established method of combined MD/PhD training is inefficient, in that the period of intense research and PhD completion is followed by many years of clinical training. Thus there is a long separation from research, leading to a decline in research skills, distance from the knowledge base, and a need to retrain after residency.
New models for training translational researchers are needed, and we have developed an innovative program for the production of superbly trained MD/PhD psychiatrist-researchers. The program offers individuals who, at the end of medical school, are ready to commit both to psychiatry and research, a training opportunity that will simultaneously promote both their clinical and research abilities. The program will integrate their clinical training with their PhD training, and their PhD research with post-residency research. The excellence of both clinical and research training at Mount Sinai, in addition to excellent financial incentives, make it a very advantageous program.
Icahn School of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry
One Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029