1. MD-PhD Program
Our Advising Approach

Our Advising Approach

We view advising as a foundational factor in the success of our MD-PhD students as they navigate the complex journey of a dual-degree program. Our approach to advising encompasses resources and services that are designed to assist our students in achieving their academic and professional goals, while also promoting their personal well-being and success.

We offer a dedicated, multi-layered team of advisors who provide individualized guidance and support to our students. These advisors have a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by MD-PhD students. They are equipped to provide expert advice on everything from course selection and research opportunities to career planning and work-life balance.

In addition to one-on-one advising, we also provide a variety of workshops, seminars, and educational resources tailored specifically to the needs of our MD-PhD students. These resources cover a range of topics, including effective time management, strategies for successful collaboration, and tips for navigating the publishing and grant application processes.

We believe that by leveraging the power of foundational advising, we can help our students achieve their full potential and make a lasting impact on the world of medicine and science. Ultimately, our goal is to provide our MD-PhD students with the support and guidance they need to successfully navigate their training and emerge as leaders in their respective fields.

Multidisciplinary Training Area directors serve as a critical resource in helping students find laboratories and in supporting them through their research training. They have extensive contacts within their fields and are ideally positioned to provide guidance on pairing a student's research interests with the right lab. Once a student has identified a lab, training area directors work closely with the student and faculty mentor to ensure the student receives the necessary training and support to conduct meaningful research.

As the student progresses through the PhD Phase, the directors also play a key role in overseeing the development of the student's thesis work. They work with the student and their advisory committee to ensure that the thesis meets the standards of the Graduate School. They also help prepare the student for their thesis defense and ensure that they are well equipped to present their research to the academic community. 

The physician-scientist career advisors at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai provide powerful guidance to students in the MD-PhD program. They have firsthand knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that come with pursuing a career in this field. 

The advisors work closely with students and give individualized advice on relevant topics, including career planning, work-life balance, course selection, research opportunities, and grant applications. They have extensive contacts within the physician-scientist community and offer beneficial insights on navigating such environments. 

Our faculty members are researchers who are at the forefront of their fields, and they bring this expertise and passion into their work with students. Through mentoring, our faculty help students develop the academic and career skills they need to navigate a dual degree program, and to excel in their future careers as physician-scientists.

The Faculty Mentoring Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is designed to provide faculty members with the sustained support to effectively mentor students. The Program offers a dynamic range of training, workshops, and other resources.

We understand the importance of strong mentorship in supporting the success of our MD-PhD students. That's why we developed a Mentor/Mentee Compact addressing the considerations of MD-PhD students joining a lab.

Designed to foster key discussions between mentor and mentee, the Compact is a tool that helps to establish clear expectations and goals for the mentoring relationship, with a focus on exploring the unique needs and challenges faced by our students. The Compact outlines the responsibilities of both mentor and mentee and provides a framework for regular discussions and check-ins to ensure that the mentoring relationship remains productive and effective.

By establishing clear expectations and fostering open communication, the Mentor/Mentee Compact ensures that the mentorship relationship is a positive and productive one, with both mentor and mentee working together to advance the student's research and academic pursuits.

The thesis advisory committee structure within the MD-PhD Program is designed to provide students with comprehensive support through their PhD experience. Typically comprised of the student's thesis advisor—plus several other faculty members who have relevant expertise in the student's research area—the student and the thesis advisor together choose the members. The committee meets twice a year to review the student's progress, provide feedback on their research, and offer guidance on any challenges they may be facing.

In addition to these formal meetings, committee members are also available on an ongoing basis for consultation and advice. 

Our students complete their MSTP Individual Development Plan every year. This tracks their progress through the Program, identifies their training and career goals, and helps them create strategies for achieving them.

Flexible and adaptable, the MSTP Individual Development Plan can be customized to meet the needs of each student. It includes a variety of sections that cover different aspects of the student's development, including training goals, career goals, wellness, and mentoring. One of the key features of the Plan is its focus on the physician-scientist lens: the plan is tailored to help MD-PhD students develop the skills and expertise they need to succeed.

Throughout the year, students work with their mentors and advisors to review their progress and update their Individual Development Plan as needed. This ongoing process helps ensure that students stay on track and continue to make progress toward their goals.

We know that supporting our MD-PhD students goes beyond providing guidance in academic and research pursuits—and includes helping them build and maintain personal well-being. That's why we have a dedicated team of learning community advisors and wellness advisors who work closely with our students to help them navigate the challenges of medical school and graduate training. 

All MD-PhD students have a learning community faculty advisor who understands their dual-degree needs and trajectory. These advisors provide academic and career guidance, as well as support for personal and professional development.

We also provide a team of wellness advisors committed to supporting the mental and emotional health of our students. These advisors provide confidential counseling and support to help students manage stress, anxiety, and other challenges that may arise during their training.

Our learning resources include everything from specialized software and technology tools to academic support services and study resources.

Through these resources, we provide access to online databases and journals, as well as specialized software for data analysis, statistical modeling, and image processing. We additionally offer a variety of workshops and seminars on topics such as grant writing and scientific communication to career development and wellness. Finally, we offer academic support services such as tutoring and academic coaching, as well as study resources such as review guides and practice exams.

At the Icahn School of Medicine we offer ample resources to support the development of strong grant writing skills, including coursework, mock study sections, peer review, as well as a shared resource with guidance, checklists, and examples of previous submissions.

These resources include instruction on the principles of effective grant writing, as well as hands-on practice in developing and submitting grant proposals. Embedded within our core curriculum, we also host mock study sections, where students can receive feedback from faculty and peers on their grant proposals, and peer review, where students can review and provide feedback on each other's proposals. 

We also provide a shared resource for grant writing that includes guidance, checklists, and examples of successful grant proposals. This resource provides students with the tools they need to develop and submit competitive grant proposals, and helps to ensure that students are prepared to compete for research funding throughout their training.