Special Features of the MD/PhD Program

Annual Retreat

The annual Emory MD/PhD student retreat brings the entire student body together to welcome the incoming M1 students. The two-day retreat is held every August at an off-campus resort, and includes a variety of scientific talks, social events, and workgroup and feedback sessions. A keynote address, given by a prominent member of the scientific community, discusses topics such as health care policy, clinical trials, science in industry, or other issues relevant to aspiring physician scientists. Poster presentations provide graduate year students with an opportunity to present their data and to compete for the chance to represent Emory at the national MD/PhD student conference in Denver, CO. Students entering their M1 or M3 years attend orientations designed to help prepare them for the transition into these phases of the program. The student body also nominates and elects student officers for the upcoming academic year. Finally, a variety of workgroup sessions allow students to give program administrators feedback on changes and improvements they would like the program adopt.

Journal Club

The M1/M2 Journal Club is a one credit hour biweekly course required of all first and second year MD/PhD students in the medical school Foundations curriculum. The course serves to initiate new students into the program and to integrate their medical studies with current research literature focusing on: 1) critical evaluation of the literature; 2) rationale for experimental design; and 3) presenting the broad relevance of the topics. Students will work with an expert scientific mentor of their choice to pick a paper with broad relevance and significant impact. The two students in charge of presenting each paper will introduce the topic pointing out clinical links and then lead their fellow classmates through a discussion of the key figures presented in the paper. The primary goals of the course are to develop a critical approach to reading the primary literature, to augment understanding of various methods employed for biological and biomedical research, and to enhance presentation skills required to present complex data to a broad scientific audience.

Clinical Research Conference (CRC)

The MD/PhD Program's Clinical Research Conference (CRC) is a monthly student led conference designed to provide the students with exposure to translational medicine. Students in the graduate phase of training are matched, in sets of threes, with a physician-scientist mentor with whom they work with in a clinical setting. At CRC, the group presents clinical findings, pertinent pathophysiology related to the case, and cutting edge research related to the case. CRC has several objectives: 1) foster collegiality and program unity as well as provide an opportunity for student mentoring and camaraderie, 2) provide students with direct exposure to clinical and research specialties of physician-scientists at Emory University, 3) provide continued clinical exposure to those students in their graduate training years and a direct view of how basic science integrates and translates into clinical practice, 4) develop and strengthen presentation skills. CRCs are typically followed by a student organized social event in a nearby neighborhood location.

Clinical Refresher Course

The goal of this course is to help MD/PhD students transition from graduate school to the wards. The course will refresh physical exam skills, increase proficiency in presenting a patient on rounds, and teach how to generate a differential diagnosis and use the differential diagnosis to craft the H&P and develop a diagnostic/treatment plan. Furthermore, the course covers common diseases seen on wards and the associated clinical presentations, disease processes, and management. The course takes place over two weeks in August, prior to re-entering the 3rd year of medical school. The students are expected to meet daily for a minimum of three-four hours of interactive teaching. In addition, the students are divided into smaller groups (of 2-3) to interview and examine patients on the wards. The patients are pre-selected to integrate into the current topic. Each student has the chance to examine at least four patients during the course. The student then presents the patient to the group during the following class meeting, using a standard H&P format. The student is also expected to read about the disease process affecting their particular patient.