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Med Educ. 2017 May 18. doi: 10.1111/medu.13342. [Epub ahead of print]

Goals of medical students participating in scholarly concentration programmes.

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The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Department of Medicine and Medical Education, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA.
Department of Pediatrics, The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA.



Scholarly concentration (SC) programmes are increasingly common in medical school curricula, fostering student participation in mentored research. Endpoints including publication rates and impact on career path have been reported, but student goals have not been described. We describe how career plans and gender impact the importance of students' SC-related goals. Understanding student goals may enhance mentorship of professional development and self-directed learning skills.


First-year students at two US medical schools were surveyed. Students reported intentions regarding career-long research and specialty interests. Using a 5-point scale, students assigned importance to 13 goals (eight skill-related goals, four accomplishment-related goals and mentorship), Composite scores for skills-related and accomplishment-related goals were used for analysis. Regression analyses, controlling for school, were used to determine whether intentions regarding career-long research, interest in highly competitive residency or gender were associated with increased importance of different goals.


We surveyed 288 first-year medical students and received 186 responses (64.6% response rate). Compared with their peers, students interested in career-long research placed more importance on both skill-related goals (beta coefficient, 1.87; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03-2.71; p < 0.001) and accomplishment-related goals (odds ratio [OR], 1.71; 95% CI, 1.09-2.69; p = 0.02). By contrast, compared with their peers, students interested in highly competitive specialties placed more importance only on accomplishment-related goals (OR, 2.18; 95% CI, 1.15-4.11; p = 0.02). Compared with men, women placed more importance on mentorship (OR, 2.47; 95% CI, 1.23-4.97; p = 0.01) and were less likely to be interested in highly competitive residencies (39.4% versus 54.9%, p = 0.04).


Gender and career plans are associated with importance of SC-related goals in the first year of medical school. This knowledge enables faculty to promote students' appreciation of important learning goals in the setting of student research, which may help students engage in self-directed learning across their medical education.

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