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Abstract

Little is known about the distribution of research-trained physicians across the various specialties. To document the extent to which MD—PhD programs are a source of research-trained faculty for orthopaedic departments, this study examined the specialty choices of graduates of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) from 1964 to 1994. The MSTP, a combined MD—PhD program supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, (NIGMS), produces roughly 25% of all MD—PhDs in the US.

Methods. Copies of the appendices from training grant applications containing information on MSTP graduates were obtained from the NIGMS. Also, a questionnaire was mailed to 116 university-affiliated orthopaedic surgery departments asking how many faculty were MD's, PhDs or MD—PhDs.

Results. Records were obtained for all MST programs. Information on postdoctoral training and/or a current position was reported for 1615 graduates who earned both MD and PhD. Of these graduates, 277 chose non-clinical paths. The other 1338 entered a residency or internship. Of these, 593 were still in residency training, 566 were academic faculty members and 130 were in private practice. In the records, 12 (0.9%) were listed as orthopaedic surgical residents (6) or faculty (6). At this time, all 12 have completed training, and 11 are in academic practice. Eighty-three departments replied to the questionnaire. In that sample of 1761 faculty positions, 1478 were MDs, 217 were PhDs and 36 (2.0%) were MD-PhDs.

Conclusion. Despite robust support of MD—PhD programs, the number of dual degree recipients on orthopaedic faculties is small when compared to the relative size of the specialty. Other sources of research-trained staff should perhaps be developed. © 2001 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.