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Release: March 19, 2001

(Editors: This news release is adapted from a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation news release distributed in December.)

College of Medicine receives award to train physician-scientists

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has awarded a four-year, $625,000 grant to the University of Iowa College of Medicine to establish a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship Program. The UI medical school was one of only seven academic medical centers nationwide selected last December to offer the program, which will award selected medical students stipends of $20,000 and health insurance coverage to take one year off from school to receive hands-on clinical research training.

A key component of the program is the opportunity for students to work with outstanding physician-scientists who have agreed to serve as mentors. Students from any medical school in the United States will be eligible to apply for a 12-month fellowship at one of the seven schools. At least 35 fellows will be supported each year, for a total of 140 fellows during the four-year program. The first fellows will be recruited in early 2001 to start fellowships later this year. The UI will host at least five students for the 2001-02 academic year.

In addition to the UI College of Medicine, the following six schools were selected to offer the fellowships: Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Harvard Medical School, University of California at San Francisco Medical School, University of North Carolina Medical School, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas, and Washington University Medical School.

"Despite increasing funding and unparalleled opportunities for biomedical research, there is increasing alarm about a decline in the number and morale of physicians pursuing careers in medical research," said Allyn Mark, M.D., Roy J. Carver Professor of Internal Medicine and associate dean for research and graduate programs in the UI College of Medicine. "The Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship provides a novel opportunity for medical students to engage early in training for a combined career in medicine and patient education.

"This award to the University of Iowa reflects the national stature of our faculty physician-scientists and the growing recognition that the UI is one of the national leaders in training physician-scientists in addition to training primary care physicians," added Mark, who is program leader for the UI. Brad Doebbeling, M.D., UI associate professor of internal medicine and epidemiology, and Peggy Nopoulos, M.D., UI associate professor of psychiatry, serve as co-program leaders.

Joan E. Spero, president of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, said that statistics indicate a decline in the number of young physician-scientists interested in pursuing clinical research.

"We are pleased to sponsor a program that addresses this decline by combining financial and institutional resources to encourage talented medical students to explore careers in clinical research," she said.

Since its inception in 1998, the primary focus of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's Medical Research Program has been to support clinical research. For more information on the program, visit

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.