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Physician-Scientist Training Program

Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center are committed to becoming a destination for physician-scientists at all career stages by creating a nurturing community and infrastructure that fosters collaborations across all disciplines, prepares our trainees for a sustainable research career, and forges a sustainable physician-scientist career development pipeline.

In September 2016, the Penn State Physician-Scientist Training Program (PS2TP) Task Force was formed and charged with the mission to break down departmental/divisional silos and create an institution-wide program for physician-scientists that starts at the trainee level.

The training program is tailored for residents and fellows who are interested in making research a significant part of their career, and also includes MD students, MD/PhD students, research staff and junior faculty.

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More about the Physician-Scientist Training Program

Program Goals Expand answer

The goal of the program is to prepare trainees by integrating focused research time, mentoring and facilitation of meaningful interactions with the broader research community and to help to create a collaborative community of physician-scientists at Penn State College of Medicine, and:

  • To prepare trainees for a sustainable research career
  • To create a nurturing community for physician-scientists at all career stages to come together
  • To develop shared professional development opportunities, robust mentoring programs and a forum for exchange of ideas
  • To create continuity in the physician-scientist career development pipeline
  • To provide institutional infrastructure to support physician-scientists

Short-Term Goals

The short-term goals of the program are:

  • To integrate the Physician-Scientist Training Program into other College of Medicine training programs with recognized formal research tracks
  • To further partner with individual divisions/departments in the integration of formal research-tracks into their current training programs
  • To facilitate divisions/departments to secure external funding sources for these research tracks
  • To continue to build the Physician-Scientist Training Program curriculum that is tailored to meet the specific needs to the physician-scientist trainee and junior faculty while being respectful of their time
  • To recruit initially internal and then external residency/fellowship candidates to the Physician-Scientist Training Program and research-oriented tracks

Long-Term Goals

The long-term goals of the program are:

  • To secure external/federal funding at the institutional level to support the program
  • To help divisions/departments that do not have formal research tracks to develop these tracks within their already-established training
  • To build a collaborative, sustainable community of physician-scientists at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
  • To establish a pipeline of physician-scientists with sustainable “on-ramps” at all levels of training (i.e., medical school, residency, fellowship and junior faculty levels)
Participating Programs Expand answer
Monthly Events Expand answer

The Physician-Scientist Training Program has developed a monthly evening event to provide a forum for trainees (referred to as “PS2TP Scholars”) and junior faculty to engage physician-scientist mentors as well as to provide a core curriculum focusing on career development and best practices in research and mentorship.

Past topics include best practices in mentorship, authorship negotiations, how to write an effective abstract, the value of scientific inquiry to patient care and research-related ethical considerations.

Future topics may include managing a laboratory, effective presentation skills, optimizing collaborations, time management strategies and topics related to funding (e.g., identification of funding sources, proposal writing, rigor and responsibility of data and holding mock study sessions).

Other Program Offerings Expand answer

PS2TP scholars receive real-time feedback of their specific aims, abstract submissions and/or oral presentations by PS2TP mentors.

The scholars are encouraged to form an interdisciplinary mentoring team of three faculty and to develop SMART goals and Individual Development Plans with input from the mentors.

The program also provides scholars with a selection of professional development opportunities already offered by the College of Medicine, mainly through Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Research Concierge Service.

Scholars Expand answer
Mentors Expand answer
Leadership Expand answer

Program Director

The Physician-Scientist Training Program is directed by Rebecca Phaeton, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Dr. Phaeton is also a member of Penn State Cancer Institute and its Next-Generation Therapies research program.

Learn more about Dr. Phaeton

Program Task Force