Get answers to your most important questions about the PORTAL program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

A: You take one additional class at a time throughout the first two years. During the first year, you take a series of classes called Spectrum of Measurements in Clinical & Translational Research I-III, which focus on how to design clinical trials. This class meets twice a week for one hour. There is minimal homework, and the midterms and finals are open book. During the second year, you take Introduction to Biostatistics and Multivariable Methods. Both of these classes meet once a week for 90 minutes. There are problem sets due every week, but the midterms and finals are also open book. In the first year, you spend approximately three-four extra hours per week on PORTAL, and in the second year you typically spend four-five extra hours per week on PORTAL.

A: Yes, PORTAL our students are involved in many extracurriculars at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, including the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership, the Community Health Fair, student interest groups, and much more. Because the Master's classes meet no more than three hours per week, there is plenty of time to get involved in other activities. Classes typically meet in the late afternoons, leaving evenings free to pursue other interests, catch up with classmates, or explore NYC.

A: The clinical research courses include research design, biostatistics, grant writing, elective study, and a mentored clinical research project/thesis. Courses are small, so there is ample opportunity to ask questions and learn from the professors, all of whom are clinical investigators themselves. As a PORTAL student you are in class with graduate students, residents, and fellows interested in pursuing a clinical research career, so that you gain a broad perspective.

A:There is a lot of support for finding mentors. You work individually with Karen Zier, PhD, the PORTAL program director, and Christina Wyatt, MD, Associate Director of the MSRO, to find researcher mentors for summer projects and the scholarly year. If you participate in research at the School you submit evaluations of your mentors and projects, so the MSRO has a lot of information available about student experiences with various researchers. As a PORTAL student you also meet with Drs. Zier and Wyatt in a group throughout the year to discuss issues such as finding a mentor and selecting a research project.

A: The MD/MSCR program provides you with formal training in the tools necessary to become a clinical investigator. You benefit from participating in a research year, knowing in advance that their funding is guaranteed, with some of Mount Sinai's top clinicians and mentors. In addition, the advising support is outstanding throughout your medical career.

A: There is some overlap among the degrees, but the ultimate aim of each degree is different. Traditionally, MD/PhD programs seek to train physician-investigators who are interested in basic science and want to apply basic science to patient care. The MD/MSCR degree is for students who also want to become physician-investigators, but with a focus on clinical and translational research (research involving humans or human specimens). The MD/MPH focuses more on public health, disease prevention, and community health.

A: The monthly journal clubs are facilitated by a physician-researcher who picks an article he/she thinks will be interesting and stimulating for the group. At the start of each meeting, the physician does a brief clinical overview of the topic. The rest of the meeting is led by two students, a first-year and a second-year, who prepare the article with the faculty member.

A: We maintain parity with the other national medical student research fellowships, so the amount changes every year. For 2013-2014, the stipend was $28,000, in addition to health insurance.

A: There are 5 students admitted to each class.

A: The program is highly selective, with an admission rate that varies from year to year based on student interest. If accepted into the program, you must meet the requirements for MD admission and have clinical or translational research experience.