Young researchers starting in today's competitive environment need rigorous scientific training. The STAR Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is a unique curriculum designed for optimal training of physician-scientists. Started in 1993, this program offers the opportunity to combine clinical fellowship or residency training with formal, advanced research training leading to a graduate degree, coordinated with clinical training.
Fellows/residents admitted to the STAR Program complete clinical training toward board certification in internal medicine, its subspecialties (including cardiology, digestive diseases, hematology/oncology, dermatology, endocrinology, pulmonary and critical care, rheumatology, infectious diseases, nephrology, and clinical immunology and allergy) or in other departments, including neurology, pathology, pediatrics, psychiatry or one of the surgical disciplines (including Surgery, Obstetrics/Gynecology, or Ophthalmology).
In general, the STAR Program begins with approximately 12-24 months of clinical training, followed by research training in one of four research career tracks:
1. Basic Science: This pathway leads to a Ph.D. degree. STAR fellows select to purse their graduate studies in the School of Medicine basic science departments, any Department in the Life Sciences in the College or from School of Engineering or California Institute of Technology.
2. Health Services/Outcomes: This pathway leads to a Ph.D. degree from the School of Public Health or the Pardee Rand Graduate School.
3. Clinical Research: This pathway leads to a Master of Science in Clinical Research from the Department of Biomathematics in the David Geffen School of Medicine.
4. Postdoctoral Research Training: A 2-3 year post-doctoral program is offered for those who entered STAR with the combined M.D./Ph.D. degrees.
Additional specialty clinical training may be integrated into the research years. The research portion is usually 2-4 years. STAR Awardees receive salary support and benefits from their clinical department commensurate with clinical training (PGY) level, as well as graduate school tuition throughout the clinical and graduate research years.