MD with Distinction in the Clinical and Translational Research Pathway

Overview

The Clinical and Translational Research (CTR) Pathway has a process by which learners can be awarded an MD with Distinction in CTR upon graduation. To be eligible, you must be enrolled in the CTR Pathway and meet all requirements of the Pathway: a RAPtr-approved mentored research project, the DCR course, completion of a legacy product and presentation at the Research Festival. For the MDwD Program, the legacy product is expected to be a first-authored manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed journal completed under the direction of a faculty committee and approved by the CTR Legacy Chair and Committee. The current CTR Legacy Chair is Catherine Park.

Research must be conducted at UCSF. Research projects performed at other institutions (eg, CDC, NIH) may also be acceptable but are subject to approval by the CTR Pathway leadership. Since the MDwD Committee must be formed within one month of beginning research, learners must contact the CTR Pathway Director, Peter Chin-Hong, for approval as soon as possible.

Requirements

  • Enrollment in the CTR Pathway. Learners with RAPtr-approved projects can enroll in the CTR Pathway any time before August 1 of the year prior to graduation.
  • Submission of legacy product draft: by February 15 of graduation year. Learners must meet formally with their committee at least once within one month of this date.
  • Submission of the final legacy product: by April 1 of graduation year. Learners must meet formally with their committee at least once within one month of this date.
  • By May of graduation year: Presentation at the UCSF Inter-School Research & Scholarly Activity Festival

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Application Submission

Step 1: Submission of Application for funding or acceptance into the CTR Pathway:

  • Learners seeking yearlong UCSF funding: Learners must apply to the RAPtr program by the January cycle deadline. To check this year's exact deadline and access the RAPtr funding application form, visit the RAPtr website.
    • NOTE: all yearlong funding applicants must complete the RAPtr letter of intent by November 30th of the year prior to the start of the research year
  • Learners not seeking yearlong UCSF funding: the last opportunity to submit a proposal to the RAPtr Program and be in the CTR Pathway and MDwD Program is June 1 of the year prior to graduation.
    • NOTE: you must submit a proposal for RAPtr approval regardless of your desire for funding.

Step 2: After receiving approval of the mentored project from the RAPtr Committee, learners should discuss the feasibility of the MDwD Program with their project mentor. Their mentor must attest to the following at a link that will be provided;

  • I am willing to serve as Chair of this learner's MDwD Committee.
  • I will identify at least one additional faculty member to serve on the MDwD committee.
  • I confirm that it is feasible for this learner to complete a first-authored manuscript and submit it to a peer-reviewed journal prior to graduation.

Step 3: Learners should enroll in the CTR Pathway and declare their intention to pursue the MDwD (i.e., the CTR Pathway legacy product will be a first-authored manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed journal).

Step 4: Within one month of beginning research, learners must submit the names of their MDwD Committee members by August 1 to the CTR Pathway MDwD administrator.

Note: learners who have obtained yearlong funding through the Clinical and Translational Research Fellowship will be enrolled automatically in the CTR Pathway (unless they opt for another Pathway) and enrolled automatically into the MDwD Program.

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Legacy Product Committee Formation and Meeting Requirements

Mentors will attest to their willingness to serve as the Chair of the MDwD Committee and to identify at least one additional faculty member who may be chosen for his/her specific content or methodological expertise to oversee the research effort. A third faculty member will be assigned to the MDwD Committee by RAPtr. The Committee will provide help and guidance during the project and supervise the writing of the manuscript.

Learners will arrange to meet with their committee at least four times:

1) two formal presentations to the MDwD committee, one during the first two months and one during the last two months of the research period

2) a meeting within two weeks before the rough draft deadline on February 15th of the graduation year and a meeting within two weeks before the final draft deadline on April 1st of the graduation year.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How does the MDwD Program relate to the CTR Pathway Program?

A: Learners must be enrolled in the CTR Pathway to be eligible for the MDwD in CTR. To be eligible for the CTR Pathway, learners must have a RAPtr-approved project or an equivalent project outside of UCSF approved by the CTR Pathway Director.

Q. I completed a summer research Deans Fellowship after Year 1 that evolved into a manuscript that was recently published. I am about to complete Year 3. Am I eligible for the MDwD Program?

A. As the recipient of a Dean's Summer fellowship, you are eligible for the CTR Pathway, but you are eligible for the MDwD program only if you plan to complete a separate, unique project and manuscript before graduation. The MDwD does not "grandfather in" prior work, but supports work done prospectively with an established MDwD Committee advising you along the way.

Q. I will be pursuing a yearlong fellowship at CDC related to Clinical and Translational Research and would like to be recognized for this work at graduation by being awarded an MDwD in CTR. Is this possible?

A. Yes. You will need to contact the CTR Pathway Director (Peter Chin-Hong) to ascertain whether your away experience (e.g., mentored project, curriculum) is deemed equivalent to UCSF's Yearlong CTR Fellowship Program. If your experience is deemed equivalent, you will be asked to establish a UCSF-based MDwD Committee. Since the MDwD Committee will assist you along the way, you must contact the CTR Director no later than one month after you begin your away fellowship to gain approval. You will be expected to adhere to all deadlines established for the MDwD Program.

Q: I have just received a yearlong Clinical and Translational Research Fellowship from the RAPtr Program. What do I need to do in terms of the MDwD Program?

A: As a Yearlong CTR Fellow, you are automatically enrolled in the CTR Pathway and are required to complete the MDwD Program. You need not apply separately to the MDwD Program, but should work with your mentor as soon as possible to establish your MDwD committee. Specifically, your mentor will act as your committee chair and will help identify one or more additional faculty members to advise you along the way. By August 1 of your research year, you will need to submit the names of your committee members to the MDwD Committee administrators. It is important that you establish deadlines and benchmarks throughout your fellowship year to assure you are on-track to complete your legacy product.

Q: I'd like to enroll in the MDwD Program, but I have not submitted a successful proposal to RAPtr. Is there any other way to be enrolled in this program?

A: The only learners eligible for the MDwD Program outside of the RAPtr review process are those completing programs away from UCSF that have been approved as equivalent to the CTR Pathway (e.g., NIH, CDC). Please see the question above for more information.

Q: I have been approved by RAPtr for a quarterly fellowship and would like to enroll in the MDwD Program. Is this possible?

A: It is possible, but it may be difficult to complete the MDwD requirements on a short timeline. You should seek advice from CTR Pathway Director, Peter Chin-Hong, as to the feasibility of your plan. This meeting must occur within one month of notification of the approval of your proposal. If approved, you will need to apply to the CTR pathway and adhere to the deadlines outlined above.

Q: My MDwD Committee has been established, but it is difficult to find a time for everyone to meet and get the input I need. I am concerned that I am off my timeline. What should I do?

A: As a first step, you should speak to your mentor. If you are in the CTR Yearlong Fellowship, you should also seek advice from your Fellowship Directors. You may also seek the advice of the CTR Pathway Director.

Q: My project is not turning out as I envisioned, and I am afraid I will not be able to submit a first-authored manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal. What should I do?

A: You should discuss potential alternative legacy products with your mentor and MDwD Committee and seek approval of an alternate legacy product from the Chair of the CTR Legacy Committee (TBA). An alternative legacy product, for example, may be a systematic review of the topic suitable for publication along with a written explanation of why you were unable to complete your intended plan.

Q: How do a 'legacy product', a 'thesis' and a 'first-authored manuscript' relate to each other?

A: All Pathway learners must complete a legacy product. For Yearlong CTR Pathway learners, this is a first-authored manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed journal completed under the guidance of their mentor and MDwD Committee. We no longer use the term 'thesis' since we are defining the legacy product more specifically.

Q: Why are there so many different deadlines and programs?

A: The CTR Pathway and MDwD Programs are designed to accommodate as many different types of learners as possible while adhering to high standards. With flexibility comes complication. If you have any questions, CTR Pathway Director Peter Chin-Hong is available to help you navigate your way through the process.

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