MD with Distinction in Health & Society Pathway

Overview

The Health & Society (H&S) Pathway has a process by which students can be awarded an MD with Distinction in Health & Society upon graduation. To be eligible, you must be enrolled in the H&S Pathway and meet all requirements of the Pathway: a Pathway-approved mentored scholarly project, successful completion of the H&S Pathway core course (IDS 140.09), participation in monthly Works in Progress sessions, completion of a legacy product, completion of an abstract, and a poster presentation at the Pathways Symposium. For the MDwD Program, the legacy product is expected to meet the following criteria:

  •  Dissemination
    • A first-authored manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed journal completed under the direction of a faculty committee and approved by the Health & Society Pathway leadership team. Students who elect to produce a journal manuscript as the legacy product are also expected to write an extended literature review (longer than would normally be published in a journal) to place their research question in the context of prior research conducted in the field.
    • Alternatives to a first-authored publication that might be considered include other forms of dissemination such as an implemented curriculum that includes robust evaluation, program implementation with robust evaluation, or a policy paper with demonstrated impact. Ideally, these alternatives would be accompanied by a manuscript with a possibility of academic impact.
  • Scope
    • In general the scope of the work would require additional time (i.e. an extra year). However, we are open to considering projects that are longitudinal, completed over the course of medical school. Please keep in mind that application for MDwD must occur prospectively, before the MDwD work is undertaken.

  • Impact
    • The student must demonstrate involvement of and dissemination to affected/involved communities.

  • Approval
    • The legacy product must be approved by H&S Pathway leadership and the MDwD committee.

 

Ideally projects should be conducted with a UCSF faculty member or an institution that is closely affiliated with UCSF. Projects performed at other institutions may also be acceptable but are subject to approval by the H&S Pathway leadership.

Application Form and Directions

Step 1: Consult with the H&S Pathway Associate Director for Experiential Learning prior to applying to do an MDwD in the H&S Pathway:
   
     Irene Yen, PhD, MPH Irene.Yen@ucsf.edu

Step 2: Apply to do an MDwD prospectively, before beginning scholarly project work. Applications will not be considered if the research project has been completed or is near completion. For more information regarding the application process, please check the Pathways enrollment page here.

When filling out your proposal, please make it clear that you are proposing to do an MDwD and clearly describe your legacy product and why it should be considered for MDwD. A preview of the project proposal form is available here.

Step 3: Alert your mentor at least 3 weeks before you wish to complete your online proposal submission. Submission will automatically trigger an emailed request to the project mentor for 1) a brief NIH-style biosketch, and 2) agreement with the following attestation statement:

I approve the student's plan for obtaining an MD with Distinction and I confirm it is feasible for the student to complete a draft of his/her legacy product on time. I understand that the draft legacy product is due no later than February 15th of the graduation year and a final legacy product must be completed by April 1st of that year. As primary project mentor, I am willing to serve as chair of his/her MDwD committee. I understand that the committee will oversee the MDwD effort and provide help and guidance during the scholarly project and the preparation of the legacy product. The committee will include 2 additional faculty members. I will assist the student in identifying someone with specific content or methodological expertise to serve on the committee. The other faculty member will be from the H&S Pathway leadership team. The student will arrange regular meetings with the committee throughout his/her course of study, including but not limited to, one formal meeting during the first 2 months and one during the last 2 months of the research period.

Step 4: Form MDwD Committee (see more information below). Within one month of beginning your research, you should confirm the establishment of your MDwD Committee with the H&S Pathway Associate Director for Experiential Learning.

If you have questions about the application/proposal submission process, please contact H&S Pathway coordinator Christina Middleton.

Program Deadlines

  • Submission of Application:
    • Students not seeking yearlong UCSF funding: The last opportunity to apply to be in the Health & Society Pathway (with or without MDwD) is June 1 of the year prior to graduation. Please keep in mind that the scope of the work required to do an MDwD will usually require additional time (i.e. an extra year) and remember that the application for MDwD must occur prospectively, before the MDwD work is undertaken.
    • Students seeking yearlong UCSF funding: All yearlong funding applicants must complete the RAPtr letter of intent by late fall of the year prior to the start of the research year. Students must apply to the RAPTtr program by the January cycle deadline prior to their research year. To check this year’s exact deadlines and access the RAPtr funding application form, visit the RAPtr website.
  • Identification of MDwD committee: within first two months of project period (due July 31)
  • First MDwD Committee Meeting: at the lauch of your research period ( by September 1)
  • Second MDwD Committee Meeting: at the conclusion of your research year ( by June 1)
  • Submission of legacy product draft: the legacy product draft is distributed to MDwD Committee for feedback (due by February 15)
  • Third MDwD committee meeting: within last two months of project period (by March 1)
  • Submission of final legacy product: approved legacy product submitted to H&S Pathway (due by April 1)
  • Submission of final abstract: approved abstract submitted to H&S Pathway and Pathways Central (due by mid-April)
  • Pathways Symposium Presentation: in May of graduation year

MDwD Committee Formation and Meeting Requirements

The student’s project mentor will serve as the Chair of the MDwD Committee and will help identify at least two additional faculty members with specific content or methodological expertise to help oversee the project. If you need assistance choosing a committee member, please contact the H&S Pathway leadership team. The committee will provide help and guidance during the scholarly project and supervise the preparation of the legacy product.

Following appointment of the MDwD Committee, the student will arrange three meetings of the MDwD Committee, one during the first two months of the project period, one at teh completion of your research year, and one during the last two months of the project period. The student will be expected to formally present her/his work at each meeting, followed by discussion with the committee:

•Within the first two months of the project period, to discuss the MDwD proposal and expectations for progress (student should email a copy of her/his MDwD proposal to committee members at least one week before this meeting)

•Within the last two months of the project period, to discuss progress and expectations for the legacy product

Additional, informal meetings with committee members are at the discretion of the student and project mentor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How does the MDwD Program relate to the Health & Society (H&S) Pathway?

A: Learners must be enrolled in the Health & Society Pathway to be eligible for the MDwD in Health & Society. To be eligible for the H&S Pathway, learners must have a project approved by the H&S Pathway leadership team.

Q: I completed a summer research Dean’s 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 H&S 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 it supports work done prospectively with an established MDwD Committee advising you along the way.

Q: I have been approved by RAP’tr 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 requirement on a short timeline. You should seek advice from the H&S Pathway Associate Director for Experiential Learning, Irene Yen, as to the feasibility of your plan. This meeting must occur within one month of notification of the approval of your proposal. You will still need to apply to the H&S 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 that 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. You may also seek the advice of the H&S Pathway Associate Director for Experiential Learning.

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 projects with your mentor and MDwD Committee and seek approval of an alternative legacy product from the H&S Pathway leadership team. 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 many MDwD Pathway learners, this is a first-authored manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed journal completed under the guidance of their mentor and MDwD Committee. Other appropriate legacy product alternatives are described above. 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 H&S 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, the H&S Pathway leadership team is available to help you navigate your way through the process. Please contact H&S Pathway Associate Director for Experiential Learning, Irene Yen.