Pediatric Residency

PePSTP (MD/PhD)

The Oliver Langenberg Physician-Scientist Training Program at Washington University

Washington University and its Department of Pediatrics have a long and successful history of training pediatric physician-scientists.  Our Pediatric Physician-Scientist Training Program was formalized in 2011, and the program has received substantial external support since 2013 from the Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation. The foundation has provided a grant in memory of Oliver Langenberg, a St. Louis businessman and philanthropist who led the foundation for 50 years and died in 2012 at the age of 99.

Quick facts from the Department of Pediatrics and our PePSTP:

Our Pediatric Residency Program averages 5.5 MD/PhD interns per entering class
The PePSTP has inducted 26 trainees since 2012, has graduated 7 trainees, and has 15 trainees currently in the program
Among PePSTP graduates who have applied for K awards, success rate is 100%; other graduates have subspecialty career awards
Overall, the Department of Pediatrics has a K success rate of >80% and K-to-R success rate of 60%, both far above national averages

Key features of the Pediatric Physician-Scientist Training Program (PePSTP) are:

  1. A flexible, individualized training experience combining both clinical and research training.
  2. Enhanced mentoring to optimize transitions from clinical to scientific training and into the first academic faculty position.
  3. Preferential access into any of the subspecialty fellowships at Wash U and SLCH. 
  4. Discretionary educational funds and salary enhancement (see below). 

The ultimate goal of the program is to ensure the successful launch of pediatric trainees into research-intensive faculty careers in academic medicine. Successful applicants will generally have both MD and PhD degrees, or be MD's with a Master's degree or other substantial research experience (including publications). Trainees in the PePSTP are encouraged to consider participating in the Accelerated Research Pathway (i.e., fast-tracking) as defined by the American Board of Pediatrics; to date, over half of our PePSTP trainees have elected to follow the ARP.

The PePSTP is dedicated to training young scientists and preparing them for successful careers in academic medicine. The program focuses on the period from the completion of the combined MD/PhD degree through the clinical and post-doctoral research training years, with the goal of achieving full-time academic appointment as an investigator. The PePSTP combines the intensive clinical training environment of St. Louis Children's Hospital with rigorous scientific training in the world-renowned laboratories at Washington University. Presuming successful progress within the Categorical Pediatrics Residency Program, trainees enjoy preferential access into any of the clinical fellowships offered within the Department of Pediatrics. Fellowship research training (beginning in Year 4 if fast-tracking, Year 5 if on standard track) can be conducted within any laboratory across the broad biomedical research landscape of Washington University.

Eligibility

Eligible applicants include graduates with a combined MD/PhD degree, or an MD degree and a strong record of scientific experience, including publications. PePSTP trainees must fulfill all eligibility requirements for our Categorical Pediatrics training program. The most competitive candidates will have a strong commitment to a research career in academic medicine (including subspecialty fellowship training following residency) and an outstanding academic record.

Application Process

All MD/PhD applicants should use ERAS to apply to the standard Categorical Pediatrics Program at SLCH. For an MD/PhD applicant to be considered for the PePSTP, a recommendation letter from the applicant's PhD mentor or research supervisor must be included within the ERAS application materials. In addition, the ERAS Personal Statement should encompass the research experience of the applicant and should be specific and detailed regarding future plans for academic career development. Interviews for all MD/PhD residency applicants are held in October, November, December or January, and consist of two days:  the first a traditional residency interview, and the second focused on research training opportunities and PePSTP program details.

Financial Support

PePSTP Trainees are guaranteed funding for both their clinical training years and their years of post-doctoral research. Senior fellows are encouraged to seek additional extramural funding (e.g., NIH K awards) to facilitate a subsequent transition to their first academic faculty position. PePSTP Trainees receive additional funds to support their career development that include:

  • Internship (Year 1) - $3,000 for the purchase of computers, software, journals, and library access
  • Years 2 and 3 - $2,000/year for travel to national meeting and purchase of software, journals and library access
  • Years 4, 5, and 6 - $10,000 annual supplement to salary (reflected in the stipends shown below)

Stipends (for the 2019-20 academic year, on Accelerated Research Pathway)

  • Year 1 - Intern $57,622
  • Year 2 - Resident $59,915
  • Year 3 - Clinical Fellow $66,000
  • Year 4 - Research Fellow $78,000
  • Year 5 - Research Fellow $81,000
  • Year 6 - Research Fellow $84,000

Program Structure

Clinical Training:

Pediatrics Training: Trainees will complete their internship and residency years within our Categorical Pediatrics Residency Program. Trainees who participate in the American Board of Pediatrics Accelerated Research Pathway (i.e., short-tracking) will begin their subspecialty fellowship training during their third post-graduate year (PGY3) in lieu of their senior resident year in Pediatrics.
Clinical Fellowship Training: Trainees will complete the required clinical subspecialty training as outlined by their ABP subspecialty boards. This typically entails 12 to 18 months total of clinical activities, depending on the specific fellowship chosen.

Research Training:

The selection of an appropriate post-doctoral training environment is critical to the success of the physician-scientist trainee. To assist this critical selection process, trainees are closely mentored by the program directors and the relevant division chiefs and fellowship directors.  Trainees will attend annual Department of Pediatrics Research Retreat and Career Development Retreat, in addition to retreat events offered by each Department and Research Program with the Graduate Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences. Trainees are not limited to working within Pediatrics, but are encouraged to explore the broad and deep research environment at Washington University and can choose any laboratory in which to complete their post-doctoral research training. For specific information, see the faculty research listings at http://dbbs.wustl.edu/faculty/Pages/DivisionFaculty.aspx and http://www.medicine.wustl.edu/research. Also, the Children's Discovery Institute is a useful resource for residents, fellows and faculty.

Coursework:

Trainees can enroll in or audit courses offered through the Graduate Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences covering every aspect of contemporary biomedical research. All trainees will enroll in an Ethics in Biomedical Research course required by the National Institutes of Health. Additional coursework will be coordinated on an individualized basis.

Seminar Series:

PSTP Trainees from both Pediatrics and Medicine will participate in seminar series and retreat activities focused on research in medicine.

  • Annual PSTP Symposium and Spring Talks series, featuring dinner with established physician-investigators
  • Pediatric Molecular Medicine Seminar. This series is centered on recent developments in molecular medicine. In addition, senior trainees discuss their research at this weekly forum
  • Discussion in Medical Research. Joint seminar series with the Washington University MD-PhD (MSTP) program in which faculty members discuss their research programs and career paths
  • Annual Department of Pediatrics Research Retreat
  • Annual Pediatric Fellows' Career Development Retreat

In addition, trainees are welcome to attend the weekly seminar series and special lectures offered by the various basic science programs within the Graduate Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences.

For additional information, please write:

Pediatric Co-Directors:
Anthony French, MD, PhD - french_a@wustl.edu
David Hunstad, MD - dhunstad@wustl.edu

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