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To provide an academic challenge and training in independent analytical thought to promising medical students.

The goal of the Howard Holderness Distinguished Medical Scholars program is to produce thoughtful clinicians and researchers who are capable of in-depth and critical independent analysis of the contemporary medical literature. Whether scholars pursue a career in basic science or clinical research, academic medicine, private practice, health policy, or other areas related to medicine, it is our belief that scholars trained to practice and enjoy the rigors of scholarly thinking will serve as a resource to others and raise the quality of the efforts of those around them. The Holderness program provides scholars with an opportunity to pursue an independent project with a faculty mentor and to participate in biweekly seminars that cover a broad range of topical issues in surgery and medicine. From these combined experiences, we believe scholars will begin the necessary transition from rote recitation to independent thought that characterizes the well educated.


In 1980, the Howard Holderness family established the Holderness Medical Fellowship Program to help improve the health of the citizens of North Carolina and the nation through research and scholarship. In 2006, the Holderness Fellowship Program became the Howard Holderness Distinguished Medical Scholars Program, a two-year program of independent research and seminars to encourage independent inquiry into the science and philosophy of medicine. The Holderness Programs have stimulated and encouraged student-faculty relationships and scholarly inquiry by providing financial support for more than 375 scholars in the last 40 years.