medical scientist training program

MD-PhD Clinical Connections



The clinical connections program is designed for MD-PhD students in the graduate phase of the program. The primary goal of the program is to pair the student with someone who can offer insight into physician-investigator career paths in a clinical area of interest to him/her. A secondary goal is to help the student to stay in touch with his/her clinical skills and knowledge base. Students are matched with a faculty member, typically a physician-scientist, to help them explore careers in that field and to spend time together in a clinical setting. Experiences that the students had as second years in the clerkships offer only a small glimpse of the life of a faculty physician-investigator. Clinical Connections is a way to see the bigger picture.

How it works:

The student and preceptor should initially set up a time to meet and discuss the preceptor’s career and the student’s interests, and to determine plan for the rest of the experience, which should include at least one session that takes place in a clinical setting. The student and preceptor can arrange a schedule which totals anywhere from 1 half day to 8 half days over the course of the semester (or the equivalent of a semester). This can be done in any way that works well for the student and the preceptor, depending on time/space constraints, the clinical schedule of the preceptor, the student’s level of interest, etc. In some cases, a single afternoon might give the student valuable exposure and be sufficient for the experience. In other cases, it might be possible and beneficial for a student to participate in a particular clinical setting on a regular basis for a limited duration – eg one morning a week over the course of 4-8 weeks. In yet another scenario, a shorter but more intensive experience might be most feasible, eg 3 half days in a row. The total number of hours can be anywhere between 4 and 40. The program is deliberately flexible and can be customized substantially to suit the preferences of the student and preceptor. As soon as a schedule is arranged the student should report it to the Combined Degree Office. (The CD office must be given some schedule information within two weeks of the start of the term, even if all the details are not finalized). At the end of the experience, the student will be asked to complete a survey for the program’s records.