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Making It Relevant to Human Health
by Linda Marsa
It all comes down to a frame of mind. The best physician-scientists have it. Their laboratory research is aimed directly at benefiting human health.
A new HHMI program aims to instill that sensibility in Ph.D. students to expand the pool of investigators steeped in rigorous scientific techniques but also familiar with clinical practice. HHMI's Med into Grad Initiative recently awarded $10 million over the next 4 years to 13 innovative graduate-training programs that combine medical knowledge with basic science.
"The goal is to integrate clinical science and medical information so the students are trained to think about the relevance of what they do to health or disease, and to emphasize an understanding of how things work in the human body," says Martha K. Cathcart, a cell biologist and director of one of the new training programs at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University.
This new medical school was established in partnership between Case Western and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation to train physician-scientists. HHMI will support a Ph.D. program in its Department of Molecular Medicine, where an intensive "core curriculum"—classes in the fundamentals of basic and clinical research—will be taught during the students' first 15 months. Advanced coursework can be taken there as well and on Case Western's nearby campus. Students will be assigned a clinical mentor and a research mentor.
Photo: Mike Sands, Case Western Reserve University