Two of the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio’s dual-degree programs each ranked in the top four programs in the country in percentage of students whose research is supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) highly competitive fellowship awards.
The M.D./Ph.D. and the D.D.S./Ph.D. Programs from UTHSCSA were ranked out of 112 U.S. programs, measured by the percentage of its students that received F30 or F31 NIH grants. The degrees are designed to teach physician-scientists and dentist-scientists to provide patient care and improve current methods of care with research.
The NIH awards fellowships to qualified applicants with the potential to become productive, independent, highly trained clinician-scientists. These future investigators will have both clinical knowledge and skills in basic, translational or clinical research.
The director of the M.D./Ph.D. Program, JosA© E. Cavazos, M.D., Ph.D., who is also the assistant dean in the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, explained that only 428 of the more than 5,100 M.D./Ph.D. students nationwide earned this prestigious NIH fellowship funding award in 2014.
Five of the six students who are pursuing both D.D.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the School of Dentistry and Graduate School (83 percent) also have F30 grants, said Michael A. Henry, D.D.S., Ph.D., professor of endodontics and program director. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research funds only 30 of these F30 awards nationwide, Dr. Cavazos said.
He also explained that he believes that the success of the students is partially related to F Troop, an innovative workshop that provides students mentoring to apply for NIH grants.
The workshop was developed and is directed by Linda M. McManus, Ph.D., a professor of pathology and director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, who assisted 20 percent of the M.D./Ph.D. students and helped 7 out of 35 receive F30 grants. The troop meets every Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Room 331.5B in the Medical School (Department of Pathology Conference Room). Meetings are typically 1-2 hours. Light refreshments are provided by the GSBS Dean.