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Effect of Two Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Training Programs for Medical Students on the Likelihood of Pursuing Research Careers

Fang, Di PhD; Meyer, Roger E. MD

Academic Medicine:
Research Report
Abstract

Purpose. To assess the effect of Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) two one-year research training programs for medical students on the awardees’ research careers.

Method. Awardees of the HHMI Cloister Program who graduated between 1987 and 1995 and awardees of the HHMI Medical Fellows Program who graduated between 1991 and 1995 were compared with unsuccessful applicants to the programs and MD–PhD students who graduated during the same periods. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess research career outcomes while controlling for academic and demographic variables that could affect selection to the programs.

Results. Participation in both HHMI programs increased the likelihood of receiving National Institutes of Health postdoctoral support. Participation in the Cloister Program also increased the likelihood of receiving a faculty appointment with research responsibility at a medical school. In addition, awardees of the Medical Fellows Program were not significantly less likely than Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) and non-MSTP MD–PhD program participants to receive a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral award, and awardees of the Cloister Program were not significantly less likely than non-MSTP MD–PhD students to receive a faculty appointment with research responsibility. Women and underrepresented minority students were proportionally represented among awardees of the two HHMI programs whereas they were relatively underrepresented in MD–PhD programs.

Conclusions. The one-year intensive research training supported by the HHMI training programs appears to provide an effective imprinting experience on medical students’ research careers and to be an attractive strategy for training physician–scientists.

Author Information

Dr. Fang is manager of demographic and workforce studies, Division of Biomedical and Health Sciences Research, the Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC. Dr. Meyer is CEO at Best Practice, a consulting firm in the health sector, Bethesda, Maryland. At the time of this study, Dr. Meyer was senior consultant on clinical research, Division of Biomeidcal and Health Sciences Research at the AAMC.

Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Fang, Association of American Medical Colleges, 2450 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037; e-mail: 〈dfang@aamc.org〉.

For another research report on this topic, see page 1281.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Dr. David Korn, who commented on earlier drafts of the manuscript.

© 2003 Association of American Medical Colleges