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MD/PhD Program in Medicine, Social Sciences and Aging

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This application seeks support from NIA for an MD/Ph.D. Program in Medicine, the Social Sciences, and Aging at the University of Chicago. The goal of the program is to provide trainees with the skills they will need to pursue successful academic careers, produce high quality research, and provide leadership at the interface of medicine, the social sciences, and aging. To accomplish this goal, the program will provide training in medicine (leading to an MD), in the social sciences (leading to a Ph.D. in a social science or related discipline), and rich interdisciplinary training in both aging and health services research. We are convinced based on our experience training MD/Ph.D. students in the social sciences and fellows in our Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program that this combination of disciplinary and interdisciplinary training has the potential to produce graduates who are extraordinarily well prepared to work at this crucial interface. We believe the combination of clinical skills, theoretical and methodological grounding from the social sciences, and interdisciplinary breadth provided by this program will allow trainees to produce genuinely innovative research that brings the tools of medicine and the social sciences to bear on important problems in aging. We propose to admit two trainees each year for a seven-year training program. Admission criteria will include outstanding intellectual ability, demonstrated scholarly achievement and promise, and a commitment to a career with a primary emphasis on research in the social sciences and aging. Ph.D. training will be offered in Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Public Policy, and Social Service Administration. Interdisciplinary training will cover key concepts and methods in aging and health services research. In aging, these will include theories in aging research, the epidemiology of aging, and critical policy issues. In health services research, these will include research design, survey and evaluation methods, and other statistical, econometric, and sociological methods, as needed, and exposure to health care institutions. All trainees will participate in departmental seminars and in a monthly MD/Ph.D. seminar in which they will present their work. All trainees will be closely supervised by a well-coordinated team of mentors deeply engaged in their professional development. Program faculty are drawn from across the University, including the Departments of Economics, Sociology, and Psychology in the Social Sciences Division, Health Studies and Medicine in the Biological Sciences Division, and the Schools of Public Policy and of Social Service Administration.
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