A $50 million endowment from the Perot family, the Perot Foundation, and the Sarah and Ross Perot Jr. To the US Southwestern University Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) will provide a permanent endowment to the program that offers a dual Ph.D./PhD. grades for students.
The MSTP is among the elite programs in the country that provide graduates with a Ph.D/MD degree. A degree to advance the advancement of laboratory discoveries in the clinical field.
“Continuous Advances in Academic Medicine”
“This exceptional gift provides a lasting foundation at UT Southwestern for this distinct dual-degree program that will not only benefit UT Southwestern’s top students, but also help address the disturbing national trend of declining numbers of fully trained physicians and scientists,” said Daniel K Podolsky, MD. , president of UT Southwestern Medical Center, in a statement. “The Beirut family’s support reinforces their historic commitment to the continued advancement and benefits of academic medicine.”
Perot’s family support will increase the number of students accepted into the dual degree program as well as the research majors they study in, including biomedical engineering, computational biology, bioinformatics, and data science. The funding will enhance the curriculum and experiences of MSTP students and increase efforts to recruit students from elite US colleges, including senior international students who wish to remain in the United States for their careers.
The permanent endowment supports the Perot Family Scholars Training Program for Medical Scientists – one of 54 MD/Ph.D. In-state training programs supported by the National Institutes of Health. UTSW said the program celebrates the 40th anniversary of the graduation of top physicians and scientists from Dallas-based UT Southwestern College of Medicine and UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, both of which are among the top schools nationwide.
Senior UTSW faculty have their own dual degrees
The USSW faculty includes a number of distinguished dual-degree physicians and scientists, including the late Nobel laureate Alfred J. Three of the 18 U.S. Southwestern University members in the National Academy of Medicine; and two of 14 investigators at Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in UT Southwestern, according to the school.
Ross Perot Sr. was an ‘enthusiastic supporter’
“Ross was an ardent supporter of the Medical Scientist Training Program because he considered it one of our best investments in people and thought,” Margot Perot, widow of the late Ross Perot Sr., said in a statement. “Our family is delighted to maintain our support and association with the MSTP. We know it will yield tremendous gains in the years to come. We are sure our money will go a long way to training young scientists destined for important medical breakthroughs in the future.”
UT Southwestern said the Perot Family Scholars program builds on a legacy that Ross and Margot Beirut have invested in over the past four decades, beginning in 1987 with a $20 million gift to support Nobel Laureates Michael Brown, MD, and Joseph Goldstein, MD, MD. Scholars Training Program. This was followed by more than $23 million in additional support in 1996 for biomedical training and research.
The center said in a statement that the Perot family has generously supported the Perot Foundation Neuroscience Translational Research, mental health programs, and veterans research, including groundbreaking research by Robert Haley, MD, on Gulf War Syndrome.
‘Very forward-looking’ contribution
“I think the Peruvian family’s contribution, as it was in the 1980s, is hugely forward-looking,” Brown said in a statement. “This last gift will enable us to produce a whole new generation of physicians and scientists who will then go on to develop new treatments and, ultimately, ways to prevent many diseases.”
Since its inception in 1978, MD/PhD. The program has graduated nearly 300 physician-scientists with nearly 75 percent of their enrollment in faculty positions at academic medical centers, including many prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Stanford, as well as US Southwestern University.
UT Southwestern said 24 alumni serve on the faculty at UT Southwestern, where they train the next generation of physicians and scientists.
USSUS College of Medicine has been ranked among the top 25 schools in the US for research and among the top 20 primary care schools nationally by US News & World Report. Only six institutions in the country are ranked higher than UTSW in both categories, and UTSW has nationally ranked programs at UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Science, including 25th nationally ranked in biology.
How effective is dual training in graduating high-level researchers and clinicians?
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 through medical schools, UTSW said.
The school said a 2014 report from the Physician and Scientists Workforce Working Group at the National Institutes of Health, which included Helen H. Hobbs, MD, professor of internal medicine at UTSW and HHMI investigator, outlined the need to strengthen the biomedical workforce. In the past three decades, the proportion of physicians involved in research has fallen to nearly 1.5 percent of the total physician workforce, according to the Physicians and Scientists Support Foundation.
Studies from NIGMS show that NIH MSTP graduates are more likely to have conducted research and clinical postdoctoral training, hold academic appointments, publish more, and receive research support. Three-quarters of MSTP graduates who apply have NIH support.
UT Southwestern is internationally recognized, ranking first among global healthcare institutions in the Nature Index 2022 for its published research and among the top 20 global institutions for academic life sciences. The school’s faculty includes four 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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