Scholarly Concentrations Program (SCP)

Scholarly Concentrations FAQ

We have several methods in place to facilitate a good match between students and concentrations. In August, we have a faculty introduction for Year 1 students to the SCP in general and to each concentration. Faculty leaders share with students the requirements of their concentration, the opportunities afforded to their students, and student accomplishments. In September, we host a student/faculty facilitated “round-robin” so that Year 1 students can learn more about all concentrations. From August to October, we foster “shopping” experiences for Year 1 students so that they can attend concentration meetings in advance of choosing.

Students may be in only 1 concentration. We feel that in order to have a robust and scholarly experience, students need to focus their interests and efforts within a given concentration. That being said, students may have multiple areas of interests and they may wish to attend other concentration meetings. Students may attend, with permission, meetings of any concentration and, also, with permission of their “home” concentration, this attendance may count towards their SC hours. For example, a student in Health Disparities may benefit from attending journal clubs in Public Health and International medicine.

SCP students are required to complete a scholarly capstone project (also referred to as the senior or final project) by early March of their fourth year. A capstone project is developed by the student under the auspices of the SC leader(s) and/or project mentor. It requires addressing a question pertinent to the field of study in the scholarly concentration, including plans for assessment of results and impact. Students must gain approval for their capstone project from both their faculty mentors and from the director of the SCP. This capstone project may be a paper, a presentation, or a service to MCOM and it should demonstrate the student’s growth through analytic, leadership, or creative processes. Some student project proposals may be of an original design while others may stem from grants initiated by their mentors. Whereas most projects are of an individual effort, some may be group projects. Separate proposals must be submitted by each member of a group project. In all cases, either individual or group, the students must clarify their specific roles in the project. Capstone projects have included working in a biomedical research laboratory, assessing clinical efficacy of different therapeutic modalities, creating systems for better treatment of the underserved, developing learning modules for students in the MCOM pre-matriculation program, and improving systems to ensure patient safety.

Capstone Project Examples

The majority of our students are aided by their concentration leader in terms of finding a mentor. The leaders have a history of working with faculty and community members whose work and interests are congruent with those of the concentration. In these cases, the leaders take the responsibility of providing students with appropriate mentor names. Others students do in fact find their own mentors. For example, some students have had prior research experience and they know which MCOM research laboratory they would like to join.

We make the information available in early December with the call for project proposals in January. Deadline is traditionally mid-March.
Students may do a scholarly project at a facility outside of MCOM. However, in addition to be mentored by an outside faculty member, these students would need to have local MCOM mentors as well.
In order to qualify for the SCP summer funding, the scholarly project needs to relate to the student’s concentration and future capstone project.
Any changes to the student’s status (including illness/injury, academic issues, and professionalism) after the awarding of summer funding will be re-assessed and acted upon. Students are required to inform the SCP directors, leaders and project mentors if they cannot fulfill the obligations of their scholarly projects. Summer funding and participation in SCP opportunities are subject to review with possible withdrawal of funds or suspension/termination of SCP opportunities based on the student’s status.
The SCP provides several opportunities for students to present their scholarly work. There are a number of local meetings that give students excellent experience with presentation, both posters and oral reports. These venues allow for highlighting completed work as well as for showcasing works in progress. SCP students are expected to present their work one time during USF Research Day which takes place annually in February. Other local opportunities for presentation include the SCP Symposium occurring annually in October and the SCP Gallery of Scholarship annually in May for graduating students. In addition to local venues, SCP students have presented work both nationally and internationally. To date, students have published their SCP capstone projects in a variety of peer reviewed scientific journals and have presented their abstracts at international, national and local meetings.
The commitment of the graduating students in the Scholarly Concentration Program is recognized through the MSPE (Medical Student Performance Evaluation). Graduating students are further recognized with the receipt of a certificate of completion, a Capstone Book, recognition in the commencement program and the wearing of the SCP Honor Cord at commencement.