The first cohort of Harvard Medical School’s Clinical Science Scholars Program graduated on March 21, 2024 in Boston. This postgraduate clinical research program is being offered during three consecutive academic years from 2023-2026.

In July 2023, a symposium at Semmelweis University marked the launch of the nine-month program, which attracted postdoctoral fellows, recent graduates and PhD students, residents and clinicians from Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Turkey. 27 of the 57 participants came from Semmelweis University. Participants represented a wide range of medical fields, including cardiology, oncology, pediatrics, gynecology, dentistry, radiology, psychology, neurology, pulmonology, anesthesiology, gastroenterology, and urology. The Foundation for National Health Care and Medical Education funded 50 percent of the tuition fees of 50 applicants.

After the opening event in Budapest, the program continued with an online workshop in November 2023 and concluded in March 2024 with an in-person workshop in Boston. The top three grant proposal capstones designed during the program were presented during the workshop.

At the final workshop, participants attended panel discussions and presentations by Harvard Medical School faculty. Assistant Professor Dr. Sagar Nigwekar illustrated the potential of repurposing existing treatments through a case study. Emerging issues of publishing science were discussed with journal editors, moderated by Assistant Professor of Surgery Dr. Jamie Robertson. The presentation by Dr. Aneesh Singhal, Assistant Professor of Neurology, gave suggestions on navigating the 7 C’s in international research. The work of institutional review boards was examined through a case by Dr. Susan Kornetsky, Director of Clinical Research Compliance at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Ajay Singh, Senior Associate Dean for Postgraduate Medical Education gave a presentation on publishing in high impact journals; Dr. Sayeed Malek, Assistant Professor of Surgery, discussed leadership in crisis based on a case study; Assistant Professor of Medicine Dr. Su Chu talked about omics research. A half-day session was devoted to the challenges of managing change and handling conflict, led by Dr. Melvyn Menezes, Associate Professor at Boston University. Program Director Dr. Krisztina Fischer moderated an alumni panel, and the training session concluded with a post-program reflection on the application of the knowledge acquired, led by Program Director Dr. Djøra Soeteman.

The participants who completed the program received their certificates on the final day of the workshop. The evening before, participants, organizers and faculty celebrated the end of the program with a gala dinner at the Harvard Club in Boston.

As Rector Dr. Béla Merkely emphasized, throughout the program, participants have mastered countless techniques in the art of asking the right questions. The knowledge students have gained enable them to prepare and conduct clinical trials with confidence, analyze and interpret research data, successfully apply for funding, and lead clinical teams. Thanks to the program, participants have mastered the skills to observe, hypothesize and test clinical data at the highest level, he added.

“The unique training program also offered a great opportunity for scientific networking across borders and continents. And we know that progress and success in the field of medical and health sciences today can only be achieved through international cooperation and collaboration. Outstanding results can only be achieved by sharing and coordinating the knowledge we have,” emphasized Dr. Béla Merkely.

Harvard Medical School’s Clinical Science Scholars program at Semmelweis University returns this year, with applications accepted until May 15, 2024 through the HMS website. The deadline for early application and scholarship applications is April 19, 2024.

For further questions, please contact (program specifics) or (tuition reduction).

Judit Szabados-Dőtsch
Photos: Liesl Clark