Biomedical research has enjoyed unequaled success in recent decades, and its spectacular growth is expected to continue in future years. There is, however, increasing concern that, owing to an anticipated shortage of adequately trained physician-scientists, the momentum may not be sustained. In a paper discussing the training of biomedical scientists, Joseph B. Martin refers to this phenomenon as the "opportunity-resource paradox" (Academic Medicine, 66:123-29, 1991). Despite the great excitement surrounding biological science, many college students view a scientific career with some hesitation. The long period of training, long hours at the bench, intense academic competition, and uncertainty about research funding--as well as concerns about income levels and lifestyle--are among the causes of doubt.
I believe that a well-managed M.D.-Ph.D. program can be an important instrument in attracting young people into biomedical research who are ready to make an early commitment to a career in science.
M.D.-Ph.D. programs became recognized in...
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