Areas of Concentration for Graduate Students

All WCGS PhD students are invited to participate in AOC enrichment activities. Such participation, which is entirely optional, will provide interested graduate students with the opportunity to become an integral member of the community of scholars (with medical students, physicians, and scientists) who constitute an AOC centered around a clinical area of interest.

We believe that there are multiple advantages to graduate students participating, including:

  1. You will absorb, in the course of these AOC activities over years, a unique perspective on clinical applications of scientific research. Indeed, such direct observation, participation, and hands-on experience in these clinically relevant activities may prove to be invaluable for your thesis research. Not only will it give you new perspectives in your scientific studies, it could provide you with a competitive edge for writing strong grant applications and/or in the job market.
  2. You will get to know faculty who are deeply involved in the clinical mission of the institution -- people you wouldn't generally have had the chance to interact with in the course of your PhD training. They can help you and your career if you make the effort to get to know them.
  3. Both your medical student peers and faculty within your AOC will provide you with opportunities for future (or even current) research collaborations. These are invaluable personal links that other PhD students who opt not to participate in the AOC program may not have an opportunity to forge.

If interested, WCGS PhD students should investigate the various AOC enrichment opportunities here and then email the Leader of any AOC in which they are interested to see how he/she can be involved. Once an AOC has been selected:

  • Email the AOC Program Coordinator to gain access to the Canvas site.
  • Once access has been granted, submit an AOC Declaration in Canvas.
  • The AOC Program Coordinator will then inform the corresponding AOC Leader(s) that the student has declared their AOC.

Please note that although AOC enrichment activities are optional for WCGS students, if you do choose to participate, you are expected to attend at least 3 activities each semester (this minimal level, which we hope you exceed, is consistent with the participation required of our medical students). If you meet the 3-activity threshold (self-reported via an online tool), the code “GAOC” (which represents the ungraded graduate-student AOC course) will appear on your transcript for that semester. We anticipate that students who: 1) complete at least 18 activities over the course of 2+ years; and 2) receive a positive recommendation from their AOC faculty leader will receive a certificate of excellence from the AOC program.

For more information contact the AOC Program Coordinator Eliis Keidong ( or Dr. David Christini (

Back to Top