What is the Kornfeld Post-Bac Program?

The Kornfeld Post-Bac Program is a post-baccalaureate program that provides students with an intensive, mentored research experience, with the overall goal of strengthening their application to M.D. or M.D./Ph.D. programs. Because of the lack of diversity in scientific research, we highly encourage URiM applicants to apply.

How do we define Underrepresented in Medicine (URiM)?

Our goal is to broaden and enhance the diversity of trainees who are well prepared for careers as physicians and physician scientists. To that end, our definition of URiM is inclusive of students from racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population, consistent with the definition provided by the AAMC..

Why does this program encourage people who identify as URiM to apply?

Despite the U.S. population becoming more diverse with increasing numbers of people who identify as members of one or more racial and ethnic minority groups, there continues to be limited representation of minorities in medical professions. This disparity impacts us all and has the potential to further exacerbate known health inequities. A lack of diversity in the biomedical workforce persists for a variety of reasons, including a lack of academic opportunities and support for students who identify at URiM. The Kornfeld Post-bac program will invest in the brightest URiM post-bacs and provide them with resources and support to investigate the physician and/or physician-scientist career track. Over time we hope that this program will create well-trained URiM students who are prepared for careers in biomedicine.

How does the Kornfeld Post-Bac Program work?

Kornfeld scholars will be paired with a post-doctoral trainee from the Physician-Scientist Training Program (PSTP) at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. Kornfeld scholars will work directly with PSTP trainees, under the supervision of the Principal Investigator, over a two-year period.

I have already applied to medical schools, or I plan to as soon as I graduate. Am I still eligible for this program, since it requires a two year commitment?

No. If you are hoping to enter medical school in the Fall, or after only one year if accepted, this program is not for you. We require a firm two year commitment, with the expectation that you will apply to medical school or M.D./Ph.D. programs after your first year as a Kornfeld Scholar.

Who are the PSTP trainees?

The PSTP mentors are post-doctoral trainees who are currently in the Physician Scientist Training Program at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. They represent the next generation of physician-scientists. They have completed their M.D./Ph.D. and residency training and are currently in the post-doctoral stage of their fellowship. As such, they are ideal guides for providing advice on applying to medical school and pursuing a career in academic medicine.

Do I need to pay for this program?

No. Kornfeld Scholars will receive a stipend and individual health insurance for the duration of the program. For further information about benefits, please direct questions to the Program Coordinators. If they choose, Kornfeld Scholars will receive a stipend to enroll in a prep course for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), as well as funds to cover travel costs to one conference over the two-year program.

Are there any course requirements for the Kornfeld Post-Bac program?

No. The Kornfeld Post-Bac program is specifically designed to have students focus on the research experience and on their applications to M.D. or M.D./Ph.D. programs. There are no course requirements and no curriculum, though we do encourage Kornfeld Scholars to take advantage of the various educational opportunities on the medical campus, including regular research seminars, conferences, lab meetings, and workshops.

What if I want to supplement my training with additional coursework?

While this program does not have course requirements or a tuition benefit, we understand that a post-bac may want to supplement their training with additional coursework. If a trainee elects to take courses while in the Kornfeld Scholars program, these courses must not interfere with the daily responsibilities in the lab. It will be up to the trainee and their mentors (PSTP trainee and PI) to decide what courses are relevant and appropriate. Taking additional courses must also be approved by the Kornfeld Post-Bac Program Coordinators, and the cost of these course will be the responsibility of the post-bac.

How will mentorship work?

In addition to the mentorship provided by the PSTP trainee and the Principal Investigator, Kornfeld Scholars will personally meet once to twice every month with the Kornfeld Post-Bac Program Coordinators to discuss career development, progress in the lab, and any other relevant issues. They can also regularly meet with their mentoring families, or groups of near-peer mentors at various stages of training (i.e., medical students, medicine residents) who will help the scholars expand their network and provide additional mentoring and career guidance.

What help will I receive when applying to MD or MD/PhD programs?

A major focus of the Kornfeld Post-Bac program is to get Kornfeld Scholars into an M.D. or M.D./Ph.D. program. Scholars will receive early guidance from their direct mentors (PSTP trainee, Principal Investigator), as well as from the Program Coordinators and near-peer mentors (i.e., current medical students) in their mentoring family when drafting their applications. This will include dedicated time for editing/revising their personal statements, developing/refining their interview techniques, and showcasing their research during the interview and in the written application. In addition, Kornfeld Scholars will receive a stipend toward a MCAT prep course, if they choose.

Am I required to take the MCAT prior to applying for this program?

No. While we understand that some applicants may have taken the MCAT prior to applying to this program, a prior MCAT score is not an application requirement.

My undergraduate institution had limited opportunities to engage in laboratory research.  Am I still eligible to apply for the Kornfeld Post-Bac Program?

Yes. We understand that laboratory research opportunities can vary between undergraduate institutions. To be eligible for this program, applicants must demonstrate an interest in biomedical research, even if their research experience during their undergraduate training was limited. We encourage applicants with a genuine interest in biomedical research to discuss their experiences in their personal statement and how they shaped their decision to apply for this program.

If my Bachelor of Arts/Science degree is not in a science-related field, am I still eligible to apply for the Kornfeld Post-Bac program?

Yes. However, it is important that applicants will need to have completed all standard course requirements for application to medical school. Although these can vary, this generally means that applicants will have completed one year of general biology, several upper-level biology classes, one year of inorganic chemistry, one year of organic chemistry, at least one semester of biochemistry, one year of physics, and one year of college mathematics. These courses are also essential preparation for the work that will be performed as a Kornfeld Scholar.

Must I have completed my undergraduate training within a certain time before starting the program?

To be eligible, Kornfeld Scholars must have completed their undergraduate training prior to the start of the program (July 1st). While many applicants will apply during their final (senior) year of undergraduate training, we recognize that some applicants may have obtained their undergraduate degrees one or more years prior. Applicants who will have not completed their undergraduate training by the start of the program (July 1st) are not eligible to apply. Kornfeld Scholars cannot use their stipend to pay for any unfinished undergraduate courses. 

How do I find a lab or a PSTP mentor?

During the interview process we will provide a list of PTSP trainees, the PSTP mentors (Principal Investigators), and associated projects that are available for the post-bac to work on.  After consideration by the applicant and program directors, we will identify which PSTP trainee and lab are the best fit for the Kornfeld Scholar.