MD/PHD

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“MD/PhD programs are designed to prepare individuals for careers as physician-scientists. The physician-scientist is an individual who possesses the clinical skills and knowledge of medicine combined with the expert mastery of an area of science and the scientific method… By the dual nature of their training, they are individuals with unique perspective: their MD/PhD training has provided them with experiences and instincts to observe clinical syndromes, to reflect on those symptoms in the light of fundamental biological science, and to pursue the study of those diseases through hypothesis-driven research.” – Robert Ulane, NYU School Of Medicine

The MD/PhD degree is one unlike any other. It is for people who aren’t content with the clinical aspect of medicine; they aren’t satisfied with only diagnosing the patient and prescribing medications. They dig deeper, into the science and molecular aspect of the diseases that manifest in their clinic.

The relationship between the biological science and medicine is incredibly strong, and each are vital to the other’s success. Biological mysteries are solved to give patients suffering terrible diseases a chance to recover, and medical advancements are made from biological discoveries applied to the understanding of human anatomy. Medicine and research coexist in a symbiotic relationship, each supporting the other and fueling innovation. They might be able to exist on their own, but will never be nearly as successful as they could be together.

This middle ground between a physician and a scientist is hard to acheive, and takes longer than a typical MD degree. The average length to attain an MD/PhD degree is eight years. However, the MD/PhD program has one benefit that MD progrms don’t have. Students who get accepted into these programs usually get their medical school paid for, AND a stipend during their years conducting research for their PhD! Definitely makes the long haul worthwhile, for the most part!

The road to become a physician-scientist is long, and filled with many challenges. However, it is highly rewarding. Here are some other articles to help you in your decision:

Written by: Elizabeth Gorodetsky

Reposted from November 2015

Related Sites:

https://www.aamc.org/students/research/mdphd/

http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2009_10_16/caredit.a0900124

https://biology.nd.edu/assets/31650/preparing_for_and_applying_to_md_or_phd_programs.pdf

India Study Abroad

This past winter, I traveled to Jamkhed, Maharashtra, India on a Global Health: Ethnography study abroad session. I was humbled by the successful, sustainable health care the Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP), founded by Drs. Arole, provided to the rural villages in Jamkhed and surrounding districts.

Sustainable by Development

Dr. Raj and Mabelle Arole believed in “comprehensive health care,” which means that the living conditions of the villagers were just as important as their health. And this so logical, since we know that how we live directly affects health repercussions. Because of this mindset, Drs. Arole decided to progress the development of villages to improve their health. Some examples of this were providing clean drinking water, covering water pits (to prevent mosquitos from breeding and spreading malaPicture1ria), and improving irrigation (for water supply during dry seasons).


In the doctors’ book,
Jamkhed, one story particularly struck out to me about the importance of development in rural areas. During a demonstration when the villagers went up to thank the Aroles, the majority of villagers were grateful for the water pumps installed in the villages rather than for the medical work the doctors were providing. In impoverished areas, it is vital to provide basic necessities to improve health.

Sustainable by Empowerment

Another aspect of CRHP I was impressed with was that it strove to change the traditional social structure. The caste system is thousands of years old and embedded in the Indian way of life. On top of that, the society is heavily patriarchal. In order to fight these norms, Drs. Arole had to come up with tactics to change the perspectives of both the health workers that worked for them and the villagers. They sat in circles rather than having the highest status person sit at the head of the floor mat. They placed the water pumps in areas where the Untouchables (lowest of the caste system) lived, so that different castes had to interact to get water. One key tactic was to train women to become village health workers. This gave the women more respect and responsibilities in the village. Furthermore, training a villager rather than bringing in someone new to be the village health work allows the village to stand on its own instead of relying on CRHP.

CRHP’s mission and impact in Jamkhed has shown me that sustainable health care in underserved areas is attainable. My experience in Jamkhed has reinforced my desire to serve in an underdeveloped community. And now, when I hope to improve people’s health, I will remember that development and empowerment are just as important factors as medicine to better comprehensive health.

Written by: Sharon Pang

Further Readings:

Jamkhed: A Comprehensive Rural Health Project, by Mabelle and Rajanikant Arole

Ask A Black Man

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The Question Bridge: Black Males project is a platform for Black men of all ages and backgrounds to ask and respond to questions about life in America. The artists created it to stimulate connections and understanding among Black men, but they also wanted to show the diversity of thought, character and identity in the Black male population so rarely seen in American media. In essence, the artists want to represent and redefine Black male identity in America.

“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness, — an American, a Negro; two warring souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” – W.E.B. Du Bois

The Question Bridge is at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (515 Malcolm X Blvd) — New York, NY, Until January 3, 2015.