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The Impact of a Scholarly Concentration Program on Student Interest in Career-Long Research: A Longitudinal Study

Wolfson, Rachel K. MD; Alberson, Kurt; McGinty, Michael; Schwanz, Korry MHA; Dickins, Kirsten RN, MSW; Arora, Vineet M. MD, MAPP

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001486
Research Reports

Purpose: Concerns remain regarding the future of the physician-scientist workforce. One goal of scholarly concentration (SC) programs is to give students skills and motivation to pursue research careers. The authors describe SC and student variables that affect students’ career plans.

Method: Medical students graduating from the University of Chicago SC program in 2014 and 2015 were studied. The authors measured change in interest in career-long research from matriculation to graduation, and used ordinal logistic regression to determine whether program satisfaction, dissemination of scholarship, publication, and gender were associated with increased interest in a research career.

Results: Among students with low baseline interest in career-long research, a one-point-higher program satisfaction was associated with 2.49 (95% CI 1.36–4.57, P = .003) odds of a one-point-increased interest in a research career from matriculation to graduation. Among students with high baseline interest in career-long research, both publication (OR 5.46, 95% CI 1.40–21.32, P = .02) and female gender (OR 4.83, 95% CI 1.11–21.04, P = .04) were associated with increased odds of a one-point-increased interest in career-long research.

Conclusions: The impact of an SC program on change in career plans during medical school was analyzed. Program satisfaction, publication, and female gender were associated with increased intent to participate in career-long research depending on baseline interest in career-long research. Two ways to bolster the physician-scientist workforce are to improve satisfaction with existing SC programs and to formally support student publication. Future work to track outcomes of SC program graduates is warranted.

R.K. Wolfson is assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, and codirector, Scholarship & Discovery, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

K. Alberson is a third-year medical student, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

M. McGinty is curriculum management specialist, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

K. Schwanz is director, Medical School Education, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

K. Dickins is former manager, Scholarship & Discovery, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

V.M. Arora is associate professor, Department of Medicine, assistant dean, Scholarship & Discovery, and director, GME Clinical Learning Environment Innovation, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

Funding/Support: None reported.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: This study was approved by the University of Chicago institutional review board (IRB 15-1230).

Previous presentations: This work was presented in poster and oral format at the University of Chicago Medical Education Day, November 19, 2015, Chicago, Illinois; and was selected for oral presentation at the Association of American Medical College Central Group on Educational Affairs, April 7, 2016, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Supplemental digital content for this article is available at http://links.lww.com/ACADMED/A405.

Correspondence should be addressed to Rachel K. Wolfson, 5841 S. Maryland Ave., MC 1145, Chicago, IL 60637; e-mail: rwolfson@peds.bsd.uchicago.edu.

© 2017 by the Association of American Medical Colleges