The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

Becoming a Physician Scientist with an MD-PHD Student

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Jake Khoussine who is currently a fifth year student of a combined MD-PhD program. As the founder of Madrasa Advising, he advises students on how to prepare for an MD-PhD program so they can become successful physician-scientists.

[00:58] Jake’s Medical Journey and Background

[04:42] Why Apply to an MD-PhD Program?

[10:55] How to Get Accepted into an MD-PhD Program

[16:58] Study Tips for MCAT and Medical School

[20:51] What Jake Would Change in Healthcare

Why Jake Wants to Be a Physician Scientist

To prepare for his medical school application, Jake worked as an emergency room technician and researcher. He was passionate about patient care and laboratory work but didn’t know how to combine both. During one summer, Jake was given a research opportunity where he discovered the existence of MD-PhD programs. Physician scientist training provided the career flexibility he was looking for.

Tips for a Successful MD-PhD Program Application

Both clinical and research experience are important for your application; but if you had to prioritize one, choose the latter. Seek out diverse research opportunities and brilliant mentors early. Focus on the quality of your experiences that will show depth of understanding. Publication is not required, but attending conferences and seminars is a must.

Jake also advises MD-PhD applicants to develop their story telling skills to showcase their stories. Personal narratives are what will separate you from the pack.

How to Study for Med School

Whether you’re studying for the MCAT or for your next medical school module, the best way to prepare is by using well designed question banks. Constantly review problems that you get wrong in order to learn the concepts. Opt for self-paced study if lectures are not your thing. Stick to a study schedule and style that works for you. Don’t forget to do deep dives on topics that excite you to keep learning fun.

Reach out to Jake Khoussine through Twitter, Instagram, or e-mail him at [email protected]. For more information, visit Jake’s blog.

Got questions, feedback, or suggestions? Send a message to Dr. Erkeda DeRouen’s Instagram or MedSchoolCoach’s Instagram.


Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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