The Original MD/PhD
Case Western Reserve University (then known as Western Reserve University) created and launched the very first MD/PhD program in the country in 1956, nearly a decade before the NIH developed the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) to support this type of training, which had by then spread to other universities. Our program was among the early group to receive NIH funding as an MSTP in 1975.
MD-PhD programs are designed for students who want to become research physicians, also known as physician-scientists. Each side of the dual degree training informs the other side. Students are trained to recognize new ways that clinical care can benefit from research, and to see how research discoveries can be translated to the clinical level. MD/PhD candidates are trained for careers in which they will spend most of their time doing research, in addition to caring for patients. Graduates of MD/PhD programs often go on to become faculty members at medical schools, universities and research institutes. We can even count among our graduates a Nobel Prize winner and a US Surgeon General.
At CWRU, we continue to strive to develop innovative ways to support clinically relevant research as we train the physician-scientist. In collaboration with the Harrington Discovery Institute, MSTP students can now apply for a Harrington-MSTP Scholar Award, which provides funding and drug development support to help translate their promising scientific discoveries into medicines.