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Acad Med. 2010 Mar;85(3):429-37. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181ccc96f.

Implementation of a longitudinal mentored scholarly project: an approach at two medical schools.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical Student Research, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


An increasing number of medical schools have implemented or are considering implementing scholarly activity programs as part of their undergraduate medical curricula. The goal of these programs is to foster students' analytical skills, enhance their self-directed learning and their oral and written communication skills, and ultimately to train better physicians. In this article, the authors describe the approach to implementing scholarly activities at a school that requires this activity and at a school where it is elective. Both programs have dealt with significant challenges including orienting students to a complex activity that is fundamentally different than traditional medical school courses and clerkships, helping both students and their mentors understand how to "stay on track" and complete work, especially during the third and fourth years, and educating students and mentors about the responsible conduct of research, especially involving human participants. Both schools have found the implementation process to be evolutionary, requiring experience before faculty could significantly improve processes. A required scholarly activity has highlighted the need for information technology (IT) support, including Web-based document storage and student updates, as well as automatic e-mails alerting supervisory individuals to student activity. Directors of the elective program have found difficulty with both ensuring uniform outcomes across different areas of study and leadership changes in a process that has been largely student-driven. Both programs have found that teamwork, regular meetings, and close communication have helped with implementation. Schools considering the establishment of a scholarly activity should consider these factors when designing programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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