Transforming a U.S. scholarly concentrations program internationally: Lessons learned

Stephen M. Sozio, Rümeyza Kazancloǧlu, Fatih Küçükdurmaz, Meliha Meriç Koç, Dilek Sema Arici, Rebecca M. Dibiase, Jeremy A. Greene, Mary Catherine Beach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Scholarly Concentrations programs in U.S. medical schools aim to instill passion for critical thinking and promote careers in academic medicine. The rise of these programs has seen variable goals, structure, and outcomes. Transformation of these programs internationally is in its infancy. Methods: We describe implementation of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Scholarly Concentrations program, offering Basic Science, Clinical Science, Medical Ethics/Healing Arts, History of Medicine, and Public Health/Community Service, at Bezmiâlem Vakif University in Istanbul, Turkey. Over six modules in the preclinical years, students develop a faculty-mentored experience which encourages the acquisition of attitudes and skills for self-directed, lifelong learning and scholarship. This culminates in abstract and project presentation. We report program characteristics (context and logistics) and outcomes (student engagement and experiences). Results: The Scholarly Concentrations program at Bezmiâlem began in 2014, with nearly two completed cohorts of students. In comparison to Johns Hopkins, students at Bezmiâlem begin at an earlier age (thus do not have as much prior research experience) and are subsequently evaluated for residency in terms of test scores rather than scholarship and publications, but have a similar level of intellectual curiosity and desire to take ownership of their project. Eighty-two percent of Bezmiâlem students stated the project they pursued was either their own idea or was an idea they formed after meeting with their mentor. Students at Bezmialem were more likely to choose Clinical Science projects (p = 0.009). Only 5% of Bezmiâlem students in end-of-course survey felt dissatisfied with the level of ownership they experienced with their project, a frequency similar to that seen by Johns Hopkins students (2%). Conclusions: Scholarly Concentrations programs play an important role in U.S. medical schools, and these programs can be successfully implemented internationally. The Scholarly Concentrations program at Johns Hopkins has been transformed to a program at Bezmiâlem in Istanbul, the first program outside North America or the European Union. When designing these programs, one must consider the context, logistics, student engagement, and outcomes. While long-term outcomes are needed, this can serve as a model for implementation elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115
JournalBMC medical education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 25 2019


  • International education
  • Medical student
  • Scholarly concentrations program

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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