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A new degree celebrates research

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2006 - Autumn


Since early in the 19th century, when students were first required to submit a thesis for graduation, the medical school has placed a high value on the scientific method. In December the Yale Corporation approved a new program that further celebrates and recognizes the importance of training physician-scientists. Fellows in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars program and medical students who spend a fifth year on research are now eligible to receive a new degree, the master’s in health sciences research.

To be eligible, students must have a fully funded fellowship in either laboratory or clinical research. “The key ingredient is the research training on a hypothesis-driven topic worked out between the student and a faculty mentor,” said John N. Forrest Jr., M.D., HS ’67, director of the Office of Student Research. Students and fellows must also provide a written summary of their research, take courses in their concentration and participate in a seminar series.

Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D., M.Sc., the Harold H. Hines Jr. Professor of Internal Medicine, professor of epidemiology and public health and director of the clinical scholars program, said all fellows who complete the two-year program, which includes classes, research and service, will receive the new degree. The ultimate goal of the program is to prepare future physician leaders who can advance knowledge and improve people’s lives, he said. “The degree is an acknowledgement that what they achieve here is substantial.”