Minutes 09/16/99

Minutes 09/16/99

University of Virginia School of Medicine
Curriculum Committee
Minutes 09.16.99

Pediatric Pathology Conference Room, 4:00 p.m.

Present (underlined) were: Reid Adams, Robert Bloodgood, Anita Clayton, Al Connors, Gene Corbett, Donald Innes (Chair), Steven Meixel, Gary Owens (guest-M.D./Ph.D. Program), Jerry Short, Bill Wilson, Robb Williams (Mark Mikkelsen), Debra Reed (Secretary)

1. The meeting opened with a review of the M.D./Ph.D. Program by Gary Owens. There are a total of 42 M.D./Ph.D. students at present (target of approximately 6 per year) and 101 approved mentors in the program. Dr. Owens has been Director of the M.D./Ph.D. program for the past one and one half years. Shortly before he took over, NIH funding was halted. Deficiencies in the M.D./Ph.D. Program had been evident for five or more years prior to the withdrawal of funding. NIH had noted problems with selection of students, high drop out rate, passive attitude of program, and lack of integration in the first and second years of medical school. Two years ago, NIH returned for an inspection, found the problems unresolved and withdrew funding. The curriculum for the M.D./Ph.D. program has now been revised.

The rationale for the Curricular Changes for M.D./Ph.D. Students is:

  1. to create curriculum flexibility to best meet the training needs of the individual student
  2. to increase exposure of aspiring physician-scientists to the primary research literature particularly in areas of interest and importance to physician-scientists
  3. to promote self learning and ability to formulate hypotheses and critique research results
  4. to nurture and expand the students passion for research 

During the first year of medical school, the M.D./Ph.D.. program substitutes a Graduate Cell & Tissue and a Graduate Biochemistry for the Medical School Cell and Tissue and Biochemistry courses. The M.D./Ph.D. students experience a modified DPI where they are paired with Physician Scientists instead of Primary Care physicians. There is also a Research in Progress course in which all the M.D./Ph.D. students are gathered together. In addition, in the spring of first year, the M.D./Ph.D.. students take a Molecular Basis of Human Disease course. M.D./Ph.D. students also add an imaging component to their anatomy class. In the second year M.D./Ph.D. students remain in the same classes as second year general medical students with the exception of the addition of a Research in Progress course. Dr. Owen believes the NIH will be pleased with their curricular changes. The NIH review is scheduled for October 18, 1999.

Dr. Owen would like to see more flexibility in the general school of medicine curriculum to allow more freedom in scheduling the M.D./Ph.D. students. He would also like to see a broader perspective with regard to career tract given to the general medical student. Students should have more exposure to Physician Scientists, perhaps by providing an elective.

A draft of his proposal, Academic Clinician Admissions and Training Initiative was distributed. The proposal correlates well with many of the goals of the Curriculum Committee.

The M.D./Ph.D. director or a designee was asked to represent the M.D./Ph.D. program on the Practice of Medicine Committee as well as the Clinical Medicine Committee.


2. A WEB site is under construction for the Curriculum Committee. Committee minutes will be posted on the site. This WEB site should enhance communication with faculty and students and will be interactive, allowing faculty and students to correspond with the Committee.


Donald J Innes, M.D.