As part of the Institute translational medicine program, the institute also hosts Berg Scholars in the MD pre-clinical curriculum. The purpose of institute Berg Scholars is to carry out research in stem cell biology and its applications in regenerative medicine. Institute Berg Scholars will have extensive research time with institute faculty during their preclinical curricular studies.
The curriculum for the second year of medical school has been altered such that coursework can be taken over two years instead of just one year. Thus students spend 5 years on campus, with full funding provided for their extra research time so that they do not have to take on any additional medical school debt. This offering within Stanford’s Discovery Curriculum is colloquially referred to as the “Split Curriculum”. Medical student research begins formally the summer after the first year of medical school, funded by the Medical Scholars program. “Splitting” students continue research over the next 6 consecutive quarters, 2 of which are dedicated to full time research and 4 split their effort, ~40% dedicated to medical school classwork and ~60% blocked out for longitudinal stem cell research. The ability of students to spread research and coursework across 7 consecutive quarters enables them to take on more challenging and impactful research projects. Undergraduate applicants for the 5-year physician-scientist medical student training program option are interviewed by the Physician Scientist Training Program subcommittee of the Medical School Admissions Committee.
Berg Scholars add an additional year of 100% research to the 5-year split curriculum program described above, prior to the start of clinical clerkships. Berg Scholars earn an MS degree in addition to the MD at graduation. Berg Scholars are fully funded (stipend, medical school tuition, insurance, and other fees) beginning spring quarter of their third year of medical school. A major goal of this program is to shorten physician scientist training, while simultaneously eliminating all medical school costs upon entry. Berg Scholars and other 5-year physician scientist medical student trainees participate in clinical rotations in medical school with Institute faculty in their subspecialty clinics and hospital service.