University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Establishment and Retrospective Analysis of a Pilot Peer Mentorship Program

Karen Thompson Rodriguez, MD; Alexandria Ponkratz, MD; Margaret Gallagher, MD; Robert Treat, PhD; Nicole E. St. Clair, MD; Erica Chou, MD; Sara M. Lauck, MD

WMJ. 2021;120(1):17-22

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Background: Studies suggest widespread advantages to peer mentoring programs; however, there is minimal data pertaining to medical students mentoring undergraduate students.

Objectives: To determine the feasibility and perceived effectiveness of a medical student-undergraduate student peer mentorship program.

Methods: A needs assessment guided the development of Pre-Med Pair Up, a program connecting medical student mentors from the Medical College of Wisconsin and other US medical schools to undergraduates at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to provide peer mentorship, premedical resources, and global health information. After 6 months, surveys were distributed to 43 premedical and 26 medical students to evaluate the program. Descriptive statistics and Pearson correlations (r) were used to assess the relational strength between program components and student confidence and knowledge.

Results: Eleven undergraduate and 26 medical students completed surveys. Most undergraduates expressed increased confidence in abilities as premedical students associated with program involvement (18.2% great, 27.3% moderate, 45.5% minimal, 9.1% no improvement). Increased confidence was strongly correlated with knowledge of volunteer opportunities (r = 0.887, P < 0.001) and feelings of preparedness for the medical school application process (r = 0.854, P = 0.001) and curriculum (r = 0.871, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: While self-reported confidence improved and overall positive program outcomes were statistically significant, the number of participants was low and the number who completed mid-year surveys was even lower. Therefore, no conclusions about program effectiveness were made. Instead, a lessons-learned approach was used to discuss the pilot development, implementation, and suggestions for future program installment.

Author Affiliations: Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Milwaukee, Wis (Thompson Rodriguez, Ponkratz. Gallagher); Department of Emergency Medicine, MCW, Milwaukee, Wis (Treat, Chou, Lauck); San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium, San Antonio, Tex (Thompson Rodriguez); Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hospital Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wis (St. Clair), Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hospital Medicine, MCW, Milwaukee, Wis (Chou, Lauck).
Corresponding Author: Karen Thompson Rodriguez, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 W Watertown Plank, Wauwatosa, WI 53226; phone 262.370.8799; email
Acknowledgements: The authors thank the Medical College of Wisconsin Admissions Office for their valuable input in starting this program, MCW Communications Specialist Jennifer Brooks for website and email design and maintenance, and the undergraduate campus representatives for their assistance with implementing the peer mentorship program.
Funding/Support: None declared.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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