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Clinician Scientist Training Program
  1. Allyn L. Mark,
  2. Robert P. Kelch
  1. From the University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa.
  1. Address correspondence to: Allyn L. Mark, MD, Roy J. Carver Professor of Medicine, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs, College of Medicine, 220 CMAB, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1101. E-mail allyn-mark{at}

A Proposal for Training Medical Students in Clinical Research


There is national alarm about a decline in the number of clinician scientists. Most of the proposed solutions have focused on housestaff and junior faculty. We propose a new national program for training medical students in clinical research. This program, coined “Clinician Scientist Training Program” (CSTP), would consist of a combined degree program in medicine (MD) and clinical research (eg, masters in translational research or masters in clinical epidemiology). Students could enroll in the program at any stage during medical school. After 3 years of medical school, students would spend at least 2 years in a combined didactic and mentored clinical research training program and then complete medical school. Students could elect to pursue more prolonged clinical research training toward a combined PhD and MD. The CSTP is designed to meet six critical challenges: 1) engage students early in clinical research training; 2) provide a didactic clinical research curriculum; 3) expose students to several years of mentored clinical research training; 4) promote debt prevention by providing tuition payments during medical education and a stipend during clinical research training; 5) facilitate prolonged exposure to a community of peers and mentors in a program with national and institutional identity and respect; and 6) permit enrollment in the program as students enter medical school or at any stage during medical school. If the success of the Medical Scientist Training Program in training medical students in basic research is a guide, the CSTP could become a linchpin for training future generations of clinician scientists.

  • medical students
  • clinical research
  • training

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