The Mount Sinai MSTP is now comfortably into the fall of its 47th year and its 41st year of NIH funding! Our 12 new students matriculated into the MSTP in early July and immersed themselves immediately into their laboratory rotations and the interactive course Problem Solving in Biomedical Sciences (PSBS), in which they worked collaboratively and brainstormed with a group of enthusiastic faculty to propose studies that address critical biomedical problems. PSBS ended with a stimulating day of rotation presentations by the MD1 students, with MD2 students providing individual feedback (including comments from MTA Directors). They have completed their first course in medical school, STRUCTURES and are now back in graduate school mode for the MSTP core course, Biomedical Sciences for MD/PhDs. They have rapidly integrated into the MSTP and we look forward to following their growth and progress over the coming years.
Our 13 most recent graduates are now training in their chosen clinical specialties in top residency programs around the country, while 11 students in their final year of the MSTP have sent out their residency applications and are preparing for interviews. One graduating senior student will pursue a postdoc before applying for residencies. Next spring, we will once again celebrate the important milestone of graduation by holding a champagne reception for these students.
For the second year in a row, the MSTP held its Annual Retreat in the Catskill Mountains at Honors Haven Resort in Ellenville, NY. The MSTP Retreat Planning Committee worked hard to develop a wonderful program, highlights of which were a very engaging keynote address by an ISMMS MSTP alumnus and second recipient of the Terry Ann Krulwich Physician Scientist Alumni Award, Ayotunde Dokun, MD/PhD, an alumni panel representing a diversity of physician scientist career paths (Erin Rich and Hideo Makimura, joined by Dr. Dokun), three senior student research presentations (Mark Bailey, Sandhya Chandrasekaran, and Fiona Desland) and a stimulating session on “The Diversity Iceberg” organized by Ann-Gel Palermo (Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in Biomedical Education) and MSTP student Sope Oguntuyo.
During the past year, the MSTP increased recruitment through FlexMed, SURP and PREP to achieve a diverse class (42% women and 25% under-represented in science and medicine). We were pleased to be awarded two additional training grant slots for 2018-2019, one of which was explicitly designated in recognition of the MSTP’s commitment to diversity.
The MSTP continues to sponsor collegial and social events offered to maintain and foster a strong esprit de corps, including the student-organized Table 4 Eight (thanks to Rachel Levantovsky, Don Nguyen, and Prashanth Rajarajan), Meet the Physician Scientist (thanks to MD1 students Brandon Dale, Matt Lin and Adam Marks), and MSTPhamilies (thanks to Rachel Levantovsky). Steven Chen has generously agreed to continue to organize Bedside Rounds, an academic activity that would be of particular value for those MSTP students who are in the PhD phase of training.
Last year the MSTP launched an electronic MSTP-specific Individual Development Plan (IDP) that helps students track their progress through the Program. This online platform allows students to update their forms on an annual basis, to minimize redundancy and to allow the MSTP to maintain a central database that we are using to provide students with records of laboratory rotations and mentors, F30/F31 awards, and career choice. This database will also be very helpful in the future in tracking the accomplishments of our alumni.
An exciting new initiative introduced this year by the Medical School for both MD and MD/PhD students is an Early Assurance of Acceptance to Residency program for which MD2 students are eligible to apply, early in the fall semester, for a space in one of several Mount Sinai research residencies. One of our MD2 students has applied for this program and we hope that MSTP students will continue to take advantage of this program in the future.
The MSTP is committed to providing our students with opportunities that will allow them to explore new areas and to grow as scientists, as clinicians, and as individuals. Toward this end, our program emphasizes individualized learning, flexibility, innovation, a network of support and guidance, and exposure to role models engaged in careers across the spectrum of patient care and biomedical research – in short, an environment in which they can pursue their ambitions.
I look forward to working with each of you during the coming academic year to ensure your continued success in the Program!