Physician Scientist Residency Training Program

Physician Scientist Residency Training Program (7-Year Pathway)

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    The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Wake Forest University offers a 7-year Orthopaedic Residency Program. The program consists of two years of mentored and protected basic science research time followed by a traditional 5-year clinical residency. The goal of the program is to provide applicants with a foundation in basic science research the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue a career in academic Orthopaedic Surgery. In addition, Physician Scientists have the opportunity seek further education by pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the Wake Forest Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Physician Scientist Overview

    Physician Scientists spend the first two years in the Orthopaedic Research Laboratories to pursue basic science in their respective field of interest within Orthopaedic Surgery. During this time, they are mentored by experienced basic science researchers and clinical collaborators. The protected research time allows the physician scientist to design studies and prepare competitive research grants and have access to collaborating departments (Biomedical Engineering, Regenerative Medicine, Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Biostatistics and Population Medicine, Translational Sciences).

    The Physician Scientists gain valuable experience for future research and build confidence to act as independent principal investigators designing and executing experiments, generating preliminary data and writing research proposals and grants, and develop their skills in obtaining research funding and publishing high quality research manuscripts.  The presentation of research findings at national and international conference is encouraged. Annual meetings attended on a regular basis include the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Orthopaedic Research Society, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, North Carolina Orthopaedic Association, Southern Orthopaedic Association and Eastern Orthopaedic Association.

    During the first two years of the program, Physician Scientists do not have any call obligations; however, they participate in the core educational curriculum of the 5-year residency including educational conferences, Orthopaedic Grand Rounds and subspecialty journal clubs. In addition, physician scientists may serve as medical student facilitators, and mentor postdoctoral fellows, medical students, and visiting international medical students and collaborate with fellow residents in research projects.

    The Physician Scientist Training Program was initiated in 1999 and physician scientists at our institution have contributed 124 peer-reviewed articles to the orthopaedic literature and received $279,724 from extramural grants for their proposed research. Graduates of the Physician Scientist Training Program have continued their careers in academic Orthopaedic Surgery. Since the beginning of the Graduate School collaboration in 2006, one physician scientist successfully obtained a PhD degree (Neuroscience). Three current physician scientists are PhD candidates and two physician scientists are currently enrolled as graduate PhD students (Neuroscience, Molecular Medicine and Translational Science).

Application Process

    The Physician Scientist Training Program is a categorical 7-year Program that is filled outside the NRMP match. The NRMP has given written permission for this practice.

    Candidates are asked to apply via the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). There is no separate program code for the Physician Scientist Program. Candidates are asked to send a short letter expressing their interest to Thomas L. Smith, PhD. Once that is received, the file will receive consideration for both the traditional (5 year) residency program and the Physician Scientist Residency Program (7 years). All candidates must be U.S. Graduates or have received ECFMG certification.

Application Deadline for the Physician Scientist Program: October 17, 2014

Interview Committee:  L. Andrew Koman, MD (Chair)
Beth P. Smith, PhD (Director of Orthopaedic Research Laboratory)
Thomas L. Smith, PhD (Basic Science Mentor)
Robert D. Teasdall, MD (Professor and Residency Program Director)
Michael T. Freehill, MD (Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery)
Christopher J. Tuohy, MD (Clinical Director of Research for Orthopaedics)


Quick Reference

Residency Program, Orthopaedic Surgery
Artina Dawkins, MPA
Residency Program Coordinator

Telephone 336-716-3448
FAX 336-716-3861
Patients 336-716-8200


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Last Updated: 10-30-2014
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