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MD/PhD Program in Medicine, the Social Sciences and Aging

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? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This application seeks support for an MD/PhD Program in Medicine, the Social Sciences, and Aging at the University of Chicago (UC). The program builds on institutional strength in aging, the social sciences, and interdisciplinary research and its integration into the professions, including medicine. The proposed program will produce MD/PhD graduates trained in medicine, a quantitative social science or related profession (Economics, Sociology, Psychology, Comparative Human Development, Conceptual and Historical Studies in Science, Business, Public Policy, and Social Service Administration), and interdisciplinary approaches to aging research. Training in aging research will include theories and epidemiology of aging, policy issues for older adults, and health services and outcomes research methods, and exposure to health care institutions. The proposed program builds on UC's 25-year history of national leadership in training MD/PhDs in the social sciences. Our training record has been exceptional, training more MD/PhDs in these areas than any other institution with excellent placement and scientific impact. Our experience has also taught us the potential pitfalls of such programs, including the difficulty of recruiting applicants able to meet the exceptionally competitive admission standards of both our medical school and our PhD programs, and the difficulty of ensuring that trainees supported by the program focus on aging. To address these challenges, we propose an approach with 2 tracks: 1) The Pritzker School of Medicine (PSOM) Track for students who will receive their MD at UC's PSOM and their PhD at UC, and 2) the National Track for students who may receive their MD at any US medical school and their PhD at UC. Institutional support will allow us to matriculate an average of 1 trainee per year into each of these tracks, for a total of 2 per year. Eligibility criteria for NIA support tha include demonstrated commitment to research in the social sciences and aging, and alternative training options outside this program for MD/PhD trainees not interested in aging, will help ensure that NIA funds only support trainees focused on aging. Trainees' focus on aging will also be enhanced by their participation in seminars in which they present their work to their colleagues and program leaders and by their close supervision by an interdisciplinary mentorship team that includes at least 1 NIA-funded researcher and 1 practicing geriatrician.
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