In 1989, a Task Force on Clinical Research reported the results of a survey—in which one third of our clinical postdoctoral fellows indicated their desire to pursue "full-time clinical research" as a career objective.
In the same survey, a large majority of postdoctoral fellows felt they were inadequately trained in clinical trial design (70%), data management (70%), the ethics of human experimentation (69%) and biostatistics (83%).
At that time, almost half of the responding postdoctoral fellows expressed an interest in a structured training program in clinical investigation. Discussions on ways to meet this need ensued at the departmental and School of Medicine (SOM) levels, and eventually enlarged to include the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (BSPH).
At the same time, voices were heard at the national level about adverse trends for clinical investigation and concerns about the inadequate supply of qualified clinical investigators. Johns Hopkins' response to these local and national needs has been the creation of a Graduate Training Program in Clinical Investigation (GTPCI), which is jointly sponsored by the SOM and the BSPH. This program was inaugurated in 1992 and admitted its first students in 1993.
Concept of the PhD Program
The program is targeted toward internal physician postdoctoral fellows in clinical departments of the SOM. It involves one year of full-time academic classroom work, followed by at least two years of mentored training in clinical research. After fulfilling all requirements for an advanced degree, a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Clinical Investigation is awarded by the BPSH. An interested fellow applies for admission into the program during his or her first year of clinical post-doctoral training. The second year is devoted entirely to a full-time academic curriculum (see below). Thereafter, the student returns to the sponsoring department or division to undertake mentored clinical research and complete any requirements for clinical certification.
The Master of Health Science (MHS) Degree Program in Clinical Investigation was added in 1998 as a one year training program for physicians or other health professionals with an appropriate advanced degree, who have an interest in pursuing a career in patient-oriented research. The students participating in this program must satisfactorily complete the required MHS curriculum and pass a comprehensive examination at the end of their course work. This MHS degree is a one year, full-time program. The MHS degree may be appropriate for qualified health professionals who are not participating in a JHU fellowship.