|APSA Interactive Sessions|
APSA's Interactive Sessions bring prominent physician-scientists to answer questions from APSA members and share their advice and experiences. APSA is pleased to offer recordings of these sessions so that those who missed a session or wish to review one can do so.
Applying for a dual degree program, whether an MSTP or MD/PhD program, can be a stressful and sometimes confusing undertaking. Answers to questions regarding what to expect during the application process or what comes after acceptance may not always be readily available. To help undergraduate students considering these programs, we have asked three different program directors to provide their expertise on the application process and program overview. The three individuals provide insight on what makes a competitive candidate, what to consider before applying, and many other useful pieces of information. The answers from each program director to several key questions are listed here with the full discussion located on our interactive sessions page.
As the nation's premiere student-run organization devoted to the professional development of physician-scientists in training, APSA is committed to serving as the student physician-scientists' leading voice for improving educational opportunities, advancing patient-oriented research, and advocating for the future of translational medicine. Through its commitment, APSA regularly organizes Interactive Sessions between physician-scientist trainees and leading experts, allowing for discussions of a variety of topics ranging from the future of physician-scientist training to mentorship. Based on previous trainee requests and in an effort to expand resources available to trainees, on March 7th, 2017 organized a Grant Writing 101: Writing Your First Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Interactive Session.
Inviting two faculty experts, Dr. Yu Lin, from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, and Dr. Elizabeth Zelinksi, Professor of Gerontology and Psychology from the University of Southern California, we have provided the audio recording from the session for trainee access (see attached link) and Dr. Elizabeth Zelinski's slides from the session. As an addition resource for students, we have included an excel sheet summarizing success rates by institute (provided generously by Aimee Juan, the 2016-2017 APSA Institutional Representative from the University of Pennsylvania."
On February 29th, 2016 APSA hosted Dianna Milewicz, MD, PhD, President George Bush Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine and Director of the MD/PhD Program at the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Dr. Milewicz is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians and a prominent leader in cardiovascular genetics and academic medicine. Dr. Milewicz recently led the publication of a paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation with leaders of other MD/PhD training programs. The piece, "Rescuing the physician-scientist workforce: the time for action is now", is a call for action on the future of the physician-scientist in American academic medicine. In this session, Dr. Milewicz discussed the role of MD/PhD programs in preparing physician-scientists for their careers, attrition in the physician-scientist training pipeline, diversity in the physician-scientist workforce, mentorship, and research in cardiovascular genetics. Key topics included the role of MD/PhD programs in preparing physician-scientists for their careers, attrition in the physician-scientist training pipeline, diversity in the physician-scientist workforce, mentorship, and research in cardiovascular genetics.
On January 26th, 2016 APSA hosted Alan Jones, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. Jones oversees a large research program in emergency medicine at UMMC, serving as PI or Co-PI on four NIH grants and over $2 million in annual funding. Dr. Jones is a leader in emergency care research and served as the president of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine in 2013-2014. In this session, Dr. Jones discussed mentorship, clinical research training, research in emergency medicine, and the balance of clinical, research, and administrative responsibilities with personal commitments. Key topics included mentorship, clinical research training, research in emergency medicine, and the balance of clinical, research, and administrative responsibilities with personal commitments.
On January 12th, 2016 APSA hosted Kurt Weiss, MD, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Director of the Cancer/Stem Cell Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Weiss is an orthopaedic oncologist, which is a subspecialty of orthopaedic surgery that focuses on tumors of the soft tissue and bone. In addition to his busy clinical practice, Dr. Weiss conducts NIH K-award funded research investigating the metastatic potential of osteosarcoma. Among other topics, Dr. Weiss discussed work-life balance as a surgeon-scientist, K awards from the NIH, the importance of mentorship, the timeline of choosing a career research topic, and the transition from residency to a junior faculty position. Key topics included work-life balance as a surgeon-scientist, K awards from the NIH, the importance of mentorship, the timeline of choosing a career research topic, and the transition from residency to a junior faculty position.
On October 13th, 2015 APSA hosted Scott Nyberg, MD, PhD, Director of the Mayo Clinic Liver Support Program and a prominent transplant surgeon and physician-scientist. Dr. Nyberg leads a multidisciplinary effort to develop an artificial liver, combining interestes in engineering, medicine, and biological science. Key topics included the unique challenges of a career as a surgeon-scientist, the science of the bioengineered liver, and balancing life, science, and surgical clinic.
On March 16th, 2015 APSA was pleased to host Lawrence "Skip" Brass, MD, PhD, Director of the MSTP at the University of Pennsylvania, and Kerry O'Banion, MD, PhD, Director of the MSTP at the University of Rochester. Dr. Brass and Dr. O'Banion have extensive experience in the education of physician-scientists and shared their advice on the application and training process.
Among many other topics in the session, Drs. Brass and O'Banion discussed the application process for MD/PhD programs (interviews, letters of recommendation, preparation, etc.), the "successful" MD/PhD graduate, life as a physician-scientist, and the future outlook for physician-scientists.
On November 18th, 2014 APSA and the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) were pleased to host Dennis Spencer, MD, PhD, resident physician at the Lucille Packard Children's Hospital of Stanford University. Dr. Spencer has recently been inducted into the Stanford Society of Physician Scholars, joining other physician-scientists from across specialties with similar aims to unite scientific theory to their practice of medicine. He has also been afforded protected time away from the clinic during residency to continue his research in pediatric infectious diseases.
Outside the clinic and the lab, Dr. Spencer serves as a Co-Investigator with the Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians (BNGAP) Initiative- a national initiative with the mission to diversify the academic medicine workforce. He also serves as the co-Principle Investigator of the SNMA Physician Researcher Initiative (PRI), where he has played a key role in procuring and managing the multi-year NIH R13 grant supporting the initiative’s annual workshop track during their National Conference. The PRI seeks to educate SNMA’s membership about careers as physician researchers and to establish a network of mentors that will initiate and enhance students’ research experiences. In so doing, more underrepresented minorities may be prepared to enter fields that combat health disparities by engaging in clinical, epidemiological and translational research.
Among many other topics in the session, Dr. Spencer discussed research-track residency programs, how to balance leadership and service commitments with other training responsibilities, the pros and cons of completing an MD/PhD program as opposed to an MD-only program, and the importance of fostering diversity in the physician-scientist workforce.
On October 6th, 2014 APSA was pleased to host Alice Chen-Plotkin, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Chen-Plotkin has participated in a number of significant discoveries in neurology, including the discovery of TDP43 as the disease-associated protein for frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and TMEM106B as a novel risk factor in FTD. Dr. Chen-Plotkin has received numerous awards including a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists, a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinician Scientist Development Award, and the American Academy of Neurology Jon Stolk Award in Movement Disorders. To know more about Dr. Chen-Plotkin’s work and family, please visit her profile.
She shared her thoughts on a career in academic medicine and her perspectives as a junior physician-scientist. Listen to the conversation below, hosted by the Membership Committee's Annie Hsieh.
On September 8, 2014, APSA was pleased to host Ken Kaushansky, MD, Vice President, Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine at Stony Brook. Dr. Kaushansky spoke of his unorthodox entry into a career in medical research, explained why he went over to "the dark side" and became a dean (and why you might want to consider administrative work), and gave some of the key influences and experiences that have shaped his long and successful career. Listen to the conversation below, hosted by Peter Mittwede, Membership Chair (2014-2015). Key topics also included a physician-scientist career as an MD with no PhD and balancing the many demands of a physician-scientist career.
On July 28, 2014, APSA was pleased to host Robin Lorenz, MD, PhD, Director of the MSTP, Assistant Dean of Physician-Scientist Education, and Associate Director of the Pathology Residency Training Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Lorenz spoke of her career and its highlights, answered questions from APSA members on incorporating administrative work into a physician-scientist career, and shared advice for undergraduates interested in applying to MD/PhD programs. Listen to the conversation below, hosted by Peter Mittwede, Membership Chair (2014-2015). Other key topics included MSTP admissions and incorporating administrative work into a physician-scientist career.
On June 23, 2014, APSA was pleased to host Francis Collins, MD, PhD, Director of the NIH, for a live interactive session. Dr. Collins answered questions submitted by APSA members and gave his perspectives on the exciting future of biomedical science and the role of physician-scientists in promoting it. Listen to the conversation below, hosted by Peter Mittwede, Membership Chair (2014-2015).