A 5-year experience with an elective scholarly concentrations program
Green, E. P.
Park, Y. S.
Gruppuso, P. A.
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Problem: Programs that encourage scholarly activities beyond the core curriculum and traditional biomedical research are now commonplace among US medical schools. Few studies have generated outcome data for these programs. The goal of the present study was to address this gap. Intervention: The Scholarly Concentration (SC) Program, established in 2006 at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, is a 4-year elective program that not only encourages students to pursue scholarly work that may include traditional biomedical research but also seeks to broaden students' focus to include less traditional areas. We compared characteristics and academic performance of SC students and non-SC students for the graduating classes of 2010-2014. Context: Approximately one-third of our students opt to complete an SC during their 4-year undergraduate medical education. Because this program is additional to the regular MD curriculum, we sought to investigate whether SC students sustained the academic achievement of non-SC students while at the same time producing scholarly work as part of the program. Outcome: Over 5 years, 35% of students elected to enter the program and approximately 81% of these students completed the program. The parameters that were similar for both SC and non-SC students were age at matriculation, admission route, proportion of undergraduate science majors, and number of undergraduate science courses. Most academic indicators, including United States Medical Licensing Examinations scores, were similar for the two groups; however, SC students achieved more honors in the six core clerkships and were more likely to be inducted into the medical school's two honor societies. Residency specialties selected by graduates in the two groups were similar. SC students published an average of 1.3 peer-reviewed manuscripts per student, higher than the 0.8 manuscripts per non-SC student (p = 0.013). Conclusions: An elective, interdisciplinary scholarly program with a focus beyond traditional biomedical research offers students the opportunity to expand the scope of their medical education without an untoward effect on academic performance or residency placement.
Undergraduate medical education