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Message from the Director, Integrated Physician Scientist Training Program

Photo of Professor Nicola Jones

Physician scientists have dual clinical and research training which makes them uniquely positioned to address clinically relevant research questions, contribute to biomedical innovation, and discover novel therapies to treat and prevent disease. The Integrated Physician Scientist Training Program (IPSTP) is focused on training the next generation of physician scientists. Comprised of a suite of opportunities, the IPSTP includes the MD/PhD Program, the Comprehensive Research Experience for Medical Students (CREMS) Program, the Graduate Diploma in Health Research (GDipHR), and the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada Clinician Investigator Program (CIP) for postgraduate trainees.

This past year, nine outstanding students graduated from the MD/PhD program while eight new learners accepted the offer to begin their MD/PhD journey. In addition to providing learners with a curriculum focused on developing physician scientist competencies, wellness and peer mentoring were two of the topics covered at a MD/PhD retreat held in the fall.

The CREMS Program continues to be highly valued, with 65 learners participating. This includes each CREMS participant presenting their research at Medical Student Research Day, an annual one-day conference showcasing research projects undertaken by Temerty Medicine medical students.

The Graduate Diploma in Health Research provides medical students an opportunity to participate in the continuum of research – from idea creation to data collection to scientific publication and/or presentation at a scholarly meeting – via a longitudinal research program. Now in its fourth year, an all-time high of 15 students were accepted into the GDipHR.

The CIP, which underwent a successful accreditation from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons this past year, continues to offer a comprehensive career development curriculum along with formal research training to support learners in residency programs to develop as clinician investigators. Sixteen new residents were accepted in the CIP while 20 graduated from the program. The first in-person CIP annual symposium was held in December 2022. The symposium included an invited keynote address by Dr. Siba Haykel as well as several career development workshops and an opportunity for CIP trainees to share their research.

The IPSTP continues to develop innovative programming for trainees interested in the physician scientist career pathway. A mentorship program for physician scientist learners and early career researchers is being developed as is a proposal to expand the GDipHR to be inclusive of Postgraduate Medical Education learners. In addition, a tailored residency research track for MD/PhD graduates is being developed to optimize physician scientist career training. As our suite of opportunities continues to improve and grow, so too will our ability to train future generations of physician scientists.

Professor Nicola Jones
Director, Integrated Physician Scientist Training Program
Temerty Faculty of Medicine