The AAMC just released a new report, National MD-PhD Program Outcomes Study, which highlights results of a comprehensive research project that tracks the careers of most combined degree MD-PhD program graduates over the past 50 years.
In addition to the full report, the AAMC also published an Analysis in Brief (AIB) that highlights a few key results from the study.
Here are some report highlights:
- MD-PhD alumni are doing work consistent with their training. Almost 80 percent of MD-PhD survey respondents work in places where they can do research, develop new devices and treatments, and help train the next generation of scientists and clinicians.
- Alumni are committed to conducting research. More than 75 percent of survey participants who answered a question about how they spend their work hours do at least some research, and most have research grant support.
- Most MD-PhD program graduates are drawn to academia. Nearly 60 percent of all program alumni appear in the AAMC Faculty Roster as full-time faculty at U.S. medical schools. Other MD-PhDs work in research institutions like the National Institutes of Health, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, and private practices.
- Projected demand for physician-scientists is outstripping supply. Even though MD-PhD programs are growing, they graduated only 602 people in 2016. This is half the number needed to meet the projected demand for physician-scientists, according to projections from the NIH Physician-Scientist Workforce Working Group.
- The number of women MD-PhDs has risen dramatically. The percentage of women MD-PhD program graduates increased from a little over 1 percent before 1975 to 35 percent between 2005 and 2014. Still, this lags behind the percentage of women in medical schools, where females comprise almost half the student body.
- Although more work needs to be done, racial and ethnic diversity is increasing. The proportion of black or African-American MD-PhD graduates rose from 3 percent before 2005 to 5 percent between 2005 and 2014, and the proportion of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish graduates rose from 2 percent to 5 percent in the same time period.
- Training time is growing. The average time to degree has increased to 8 years, up from 6.2 years several decades ago. In addition, after completing their degrees, many MD-PhDs invest more time in clinical training and other resume-building pursuits, which means alumni in their mid to late 30s are often still awaiting their first professional-level jobs.
- Alumni are satisfied with their education. Given the choice, more than 80 percent of MD-PhD program graduates surveyed say they would definitely or probably repeat their program.