William M. Geisler, M.D., MPH, was recently named clinical associate director for the UAB Medical Scientist Training Program, a new position designed to advise M.D./Ph.D. students during their transition from the laboratory to clinical settings.
In his new role, Geisler oversees clinical activities in training for MSTP students during their graduate school years and mentors students as they transition into clinical settings to complete their medical education. Geisler, an associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, said he’s well-suited for this position because he’s “a physician-scientist who not only has clinical experience but also understands the research aspects of medicine.”
“I understand the transitions these students will make because I see patients in the hospital and clinics, conduct research and teach courses in the School of Medicine,” he said.
Geisler is the primary advisor for the Griffin Society, the physician-scientist society of the UAB MSTP, and its related course “Continuing Medical Education,” which is taken during the students’ graduate years to maintain and mature clinical skills learned during their first two years of medical school.
There are currently 60 M.D./Ph.D. students from across the country in the UAB MSTP. Students in the program complete their first two years of medical school before spending three to four years working on their Ph.D. coursework. After finishing their Ph.D., the students return to medical school to complete core clerkships and prepare for residency.
MSTP Director Robin Lorenz, M.D., Ph.D., says, “it is this transition from the research environment to the clinical clerkships that many M.D./Ph.D. students find most stressful,” and the appointment of a new associate director to focus on this component of their training indicates the strong support that UAB places on physician-scientist training.
“Our students already have research advisors, but I will serve as an academic and clinical mentor for them as they move back into a clinical setting and begin applying for residency programs,” Geisler said.
He also assists Lorenz in reviewing AMCAS applications for the program, participating in admissions interviews and working to enhance the MSTP experience at UAB.