Harrington Physician-Scientist Pathway

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Length of training: 6-7 years

Setting: University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland Veteran Affairs Medical Center

Description and defining characteristics: The Harrington Physician-Scientist pathway offers exceptional clinical and research training for the most competitive candidates committed to becoming future leaders in academic medicine. The pathway is designed to provide cutting-edge opportunities in basic, clinical and translational research upon the completion of clinical training in the residency program.

Our goal is to train a new generation of physician-scientists through clinical and laboratory experience, course work and individualized mentorship. A specially established faculty mentoring committee comprised of outstanding research-focused physicians provides individualized career plans for trainees and develops academic building blocks essential for a successful medical career.

We want to ensure that our trainees not only meet the clinical and research requirements of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), but also become independent investigators and leaders in their academic research careers. Upon the successful completion of the internal medicine training, residents are tracked into a fellowship position at the institution in the sub-specialty of their choice.

Training Breakdown:

  • 24 months of internal medicine residency training
  • 12-24 months of clinical subspecialty fellowship training
  • 36 months of research (80% protected)
  • Continuation of half-day ambulatory clinic per week throughout the research period

HPSP Highlights:

  • Guaranteed admission to the subspecialty fellowship program of a resident’s choice
  • Individualized mentorship alongside innovative research-physicians
  • Educational and travel stipend starting with PGY1 year
  • Additional salary supplementation above the NIH scale during research training

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Candidates must have a MD or MD-PhD degree or equivalent
  • Strong background in research

Application Process:

  • Apply for the HPSP through ERAS
  • Three letters of recommendation, including a letter from a candidate’s PhD mentor or research supervisor
  • Invited candidates will have a separate interview day meeting leadership and faculty physician-scientists at CWRU
  • Candidates will be notified of their acceptance through the match process

 

Harrington pathway experience by Andrew Blum, MD

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Why were you interested in joining the Harrington Physician-Scientist Pathway?
The pathway provides the opportunity to define myself as a clinician and an investigator.

What kind of research background did you have before joining the program?
I've had a lifelong interest in science that I was first able to pursue as an undergraduate. Fortunately, I found excellent mentors both before and after starting medical school, where I completed a PhD in Physiology and Biophysics as part of the medical scientist training program.

Why did you think the pathway would be a good fit for you? How did it stand out from other programs you were considering?
I first realized that I wanted basic science research as a large component of any career path I might choose. For me, this research pathway is a natural extension of my prior training. It stood out because the combined clinical and basic science training is tailored to my career interests.

Was there a faculty member you were particularly interested in working with and why?
I did not have a specific mentor in mind when I started the HPSP, but I knew which specialty within internal medicine that I wanted to pursue. Within this framework I knew there were many outstanding investigators I could look to as a potential mentor.

How has the program advanced your research career so far?
I've had the chance to work alongside some of the greatest colleagues imaginable who push me every day to be the best clinician and scientist I can be.

Do you have any advice for medical students who are considering a research pathway for their residency?
I would advise medical students interested in research, or anything for that matter, to start doing it. There are people waiting to help you.

 

Harrington pathway experience by Derin Tugal, MD

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Why were you interested in joining the Harrington Physician-Scientist Pathway?
I was interested in joining the pathway as a means to short-track into a cardiovascular research program. The physician-scientist track allows one to focus on research early--without much delay in the process (ie. elective time/rotations in areas outside of my interest). Also, the Harrington Physician-Scientist pathway with UH/Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute (HHVI) is a well-mentored research track.

What kind of research background did you have before joining the program?
My first introduction to basic science research was in college where I worked in an immunology laboratory and learned basic molecular techniques and cell culture. However, a more important research experience was during medical school when I became a Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Fellow. I spent one year in a cardiovascular stem-cell laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston where I had my own project. Through this experience, I presented my work at national meetings including the AHA.

Why did you think the pathway would be a good fit for you? How did it stand out from other programs you were considering?
The truly dedicated mentors at UH/HHVI is a wonderful aspect of this program. I was most impressed by the level of attention that faculty including high-level scientists/physicians have shown trainees who's success is not only based on hard-work but, guidance. Also, the UH Internal Medicine Program is a wonderful program for trainees seeking strong clinical training. I am confident I will have an even stronger experience during my clinical cardiovascular training.

Was there a faculty member you were particularly interested in working with and why?
I was not interested in working with one person in particular but was impressed by many faculty. UH has faculty at all stages of their career including, physician-scientist trainees (still in fellowship/residency), young-faculty who have just obtained K-grant or RO1 grant funding, as well as faculty leaders, such as my current PI, Mukesh Jain, MD.

How has the program advanced your research career so far?
I am in the beginning stages of my career. However, I have completed my internal medicine residency and one year in the laboratory of Dr. Mukesh Jain where I have learned new techniques and am responsible for two projects with important clinical implications.

Do you have any advice for medical students who are considering a research pathway for their residency?
Medical students interested in a research pathway should determine in what aspect of research they are most interested: ie. basic science, clinical, epidemiologic. The most important step thereafter is to identify a mentor who understand the med-student's career goals and can guide them during the early stages of their career.