Many medical curricula now include programs that provide students with opportunities for scholarship beyond that provided by their traditional, core curricula. These scholarly concentration (SC) programs vary greatly in focus and structure, but they share the goal of producing physicians with improved analytic, creative, and critical-thinking skills. In this article, the authors explore models of both required and elective SC programs. They gathered information through a review of medical school Web sites and direct contact with representatives of individual programs. Additionally, they discuss in-depth the SC programs of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; the University of South Florida College of Medicine; the University of California, San Francisco; and Stanford University School of Medicine. The authors describe each program's focus, participation, duration, centralization, capstone requirement, faculty involvement, and areas of concentration. Established to address a variety of challenges in the U.S. medical education system, these four programs provide an array of possible models for schools that are considering the establishment of an SC program. Although data on the impact of SC programs are lacking, the authors believe that this type of program has the potential to significantly impact the education of medical students through scholarly, in-depth inquiry and longitudinal faculty mentorship.
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