A $50 million endowment from the Perot Family, the Perot Foundation, and the Sarah and Ross Perot Jr. Foundation to UT Southwestern’s Medical Scientist Education Program (MSTP) will provide a permanent endowment for the program that offers a dual MD/Ph.D. degrees to students.
The MSTP is among the nation’s elite programs that offer graduates a dual MD/Ph.D. degree to bolster the advancement of laboratory discoveries in the clinical arena.
“The Continuing Advancement of Academic Medicine”
“This extraordinary gift provides a permanent foundation at UT Southwestern for this distinctive dual degree program that will not only benefit UT Southwestern’s top students, but will also help address a disturbing national trend in declining student numbers. fully trained physician-researchers,” Daniel K Podolsky, MD, president of UT Southwestern Medical Center, said in a statement. “The benevolent support of the Perot family further cements its historic commitment to the continued advancement of academic medicine and its benefits.”
The support of the Perot family will increase the number of students admitted to the dual degree program as well as the research disciplines in which they study, including biomedical engineering, computational biology, bioinformatics and data science. The funding will enhance the MSTP curriculum and student experiences and increase efforts to recruit students to elite US colleges, including top international students who wish to stay in the United States for their careers.
The permanent endowment supports the Perot Family Scholars Medical Scientist Training Program, one of 54 MD/Ph.D. training programs nationwide supported by the National Institutes of Health. UTSW said the program is celebrating its 40th anniversary of graduating top physician-scientists from UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, both among the top-ranked schools nationally.
Top UTSW Faculty Members Have Their Own Dual Degrees
The UT Southwestern faculty includes a number of distinguished physician-scientists with dual degrees, including the late Nobel laureate Alfred G. Gilman, MD, Ph.D., former Dean of the School of Medicine at UT Southwestern. UT Southwestern; three of 18 UT Southwestern members of the National Academy of Medicine; and two of 14 investigators from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) at UT Southwestern, the school said.
Ross Perot Sr. was an “enthusiastic supporter”
“Ross was an enthusiastic supporter of the Medical Scientist Training Program because he considered it one of our best investments in people and intellect,” said Margot Perot, widow of the late H. Ross Perot Sr., in a statement. “Our family is thrilled to continue our support and association with the MSTP program. We know it will bring huge rewards in the years to come. We are confident that our funds will go a long way to training young scientists destined to make important medical breakthroughs in the future.
UT Southwestern said the Perot Family Scholars program builds on a legacy Ross and Margot Perot have invested in over the past four decades, beginning in 1987 with a $20 million gift supporting Nobel laureates Michael Brown, MD, and Joseph Goldstein, MD, and the Medical Scientist Training Program. This was followed by additional support of over $23 million in 1996 for training and biomedical research.
The Perot family has generously supported the Perot Foundation’s Center for Translational Neuroscience Research, mental health programs, and research on veterans, including Robert Haley, MD’s groundbreaking research into Gulf War Syndrome. , the center said in a statement.
A contribution “tremendously oriented towards the future”
“I think the contribution of the Perot family is, as it was in the 1980s, extremely forward-looking,” Brown said in a statement. “This latest gift will allow us to produce a whole new generation of physician-scientists who will then develop new cures and, ultimately, the means to prevent many diseases.”
Since its inception in 1978, the MD/Ph.D. The program has graduated nearly 300 physician-scientists, about 75% of whom have held faculty positions at academic medical centers, including many prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Stanford, as well as UT Southwestern, said school.
UT Southwestern said 24 of the graduates are on the faculty of UT Southwestern, where they train the next generation of physician-scientists.
UT Southwestern Medical School is ranked in the top 25 in the United States for research and in the top 20 for primary care nationally by US News & World Report. Only six institutions nationwide ranked above UTSW in both categories, and UTSW has nationally ranked programs at UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, including 25th nationally in biology.
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The National Institute of General Medical Sciences bridges the gap between basic science and clinical research by providing both graduate training in biomedical sciences and clinical training offered by medical schools, UTSW said.
A 2014 report from the NIH Medical and Scientific Workforce Task Force, which included Helen H. Hobbs, MD, professor of internal medicine at UTSW and HHMI investigator, identified the need to strengthen the workforce -of biomedical work, the school said. Over the past three decades, the proportion of physicians engaged in research has declined to about 1.5 percent of the entire medical workforce, according to the Physician-Scientist Support Foundation.
NIGMS studies show that NIH MSTP graduates are more likely to have done both research and clinical postgraduate training, hold academic positions, publish more, and receive research support. Three-quarters of MSTP graduates who applied were successful in securing NIH support.
UT Southwestern is internationally recognized, ranking #1 among global healthcare institutions in the 2022 Nature Index for its published research and among the top 20 global academic institutions in the life sciences. The school’s faculty includes four active Nobel laureates, 24 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 18 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 14 HHMI investigators.
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