June 01, 2017
The medical school sponsors several special programs, which I hope to highlight in the coming months. Our scholarly concentrations program is designed to enrich medical education through scholarly activities. The program is directed by Gary Rosenfeld, Ph.D., associate dean for educational programs, and Amanda Reddick, who recently joined us as program coordinator.
The program was established by the Curriculum Committee in 2010 to provide students with opportunities to engage in scholarly activities, including research. The goals are to have students:
- Acquire expertise in an interdisciplinary health-related area
- Develop critical thinking and analytical skills
- Improve oral and written communication skills
- Enhance self-directed learning skills
- Produce a scholarly product
- Appreciate the role of scholarship in health care
- Increase interdisciplinary interactions
- Emphasize focused scholarship and its dissemination
This optional program, offered to students in the second semester of their first year, was designed to enrich the required curriculum. Scholarly activities last the duration of medical school and allow students to develop close relationships with faculty mentors, who often provide ongoing guidance regarding professional development and career choice. Students apply to a specific concentration of their choice. Areas of concentration and their faculty directors include:
- Child Health and Advocacy (Dr. Mark Hormann)
- Clinical Quality, Safety, and Evidence-Based Medicine (Dr. Donald Molony, Dr. Eric Thomas)
- Emergency Preparedness and Response (Dr. Theresa Koehler, Dr. Robert Emery, Dr. Richard Bradley)
- Geriatric & Palliative Medicine (Dr. Linh Nguyen)
- Global Health (Dr. Deepa Iyengar, Dr. Omowunmi Aibana, Dr. Adan Rios)
- Medical Education (Dr. Margaret Uthman, Dr. Patricia Butler, Dr. Allison Ownby, Dr. Peggy Hsieh, Dr. Gary Rosenfeld)
- Medical Humanities (Dr. Nathan Carlin)
- Molecular and Translational Medicine (Dr. Diane Bick, Dr. Bruce Kone)
- Nanomedicine & Biomedical Engineering (Dr. David Volk)
- Neuroscience (Dr. Ian Butler, Dr. John Byrne)
- Primary Care/Family Medicine (Dr. Carlos Moreno, Dr. Bal Reddy)
Students who fulfill the requirements of the program, including a scholarly project, receive a certificate of completion and are recognized at commencement. Examples of scholarly projects include original basic or clinical research, evaluation of an outreach program, development of a new module for the curriculum, creative health-related writing, or development of a bioengineering tool or biomedical software.
To date, 180 students have received a certificate of completion. The medical humanities program has had the most graduates; global health is second most popular, followed by the neuroscience program.
We are following the careers of graduates of the program; our first graduates are just now finishing their residencies. We track their published works via PubMed; some have leadership positions in their residencies. Participants in the scholarly concentrations should have an advantage in residency applications, with the interesting and thoughtful work they are pursuing.
Currently we have almost 250 medical students in the program. We are considering the addition of two new concentrations – one in substance abuse and the other in women’s health. We also are evaluating a formal recognition event and poster presentation for all graduates at the end of the scholarly concentration program.
The program promotes a culture of scholarship, curiosity, and life-long learning and encourages development of physician-scholars through early exposure to research methods, project development, writing, and multidisciplinary mentoring. Faculty engagement and mentoring are key to its success.
The program would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of Dr. Rosenfeld and Amanda Reddick and the enthusiastic participation of many faculty who serve as mentors and role models. Thank you all for your commitment to our students’ academic and career development.