History of the Program
Until 1993, none of the summer programs run by medical colleges or graduate schools had the specific aim of training students to become successful MD-PhD applicants and students.
In 1993, the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program of Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan Kettering became the first MD-PhD Program in the country to establish a summer program for underrepresented minority and disadvantaged college students who wish to pursue the combined MD-PhD degree.
As of 2021, 346 undergraduates have “graduated” from the program. Of the 318 who have completed their undergraduate degree, 244 (76.7%) have earned or are pursuing advanced degrees: 190 have earned advanced degrees (including 111 MD/DOs, 21 PhD/PharmDs and 29 MD-PhDs) and 54 are pursuing advanced degrees (including 13 MD/DO students, 10 PhD students and 31 MD-PhD students). The program’s accomplishments are impressive considering that the participants are identified after their freshman or sophomore year of college. Of the 60 who have received or are pursuing MD-PhDs, 13 have graduated from, and 10 are enrolled in, the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program; indeed, we have created our own pipeline. Comparing the outcomes for those who completed health-related programs to those still in training reveals a shift from MD-only toward MD-PhD and PhD-only programs, the reasons for which are discussed in Gotian et al. (2017).
Due to the fact that Gateways enrolls freshmen and sophomores, coupled with the propensity of early program participants to pursue MD-only training, it will take many years to determine the full impact of the program with respect to the its “success” in training clinician-scientists. At this point, among the 29 MD-PhD graduates, 17 are still in training (residents or fellows); of the 12 who are out of training, six are in academic medicine, four are in private practice, and two are in biotech/pharma.
To this day, the Tri-Institutional Gateways to the Laboratory Program is the only such program exclusively for freshmen and sophomores (rising sophomores and rising juniors).