University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

The Impact of a Scholarly Concentration Program on Medical Student Research in Pediatrics

Adam S. Bauer, MD; Pamela J. Kling, MD; Vera Tsenkova, PhD; Ethan Rosen, BS; Elizabeth Petty, MD

WMJ. 2023;122(4):250-256.

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Introduction: To promote scientific inquiry, medical schools encourage medical students to participate in scholarly concentration programs (SCP). Manuscript publishing, a proxy of productivity, enhances medical student understanding of scientific inquiry. To evaluate an elective medical SCP offered between the first two years of medical school, the pediatrician authors’ primary aim was to study the publishing productivity of the program participants in the University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Pediatrics compared to other departments. Secondary aims were to study whether productivity was influenced by the following predictors: (1) self-identified medical student gender, (2) working with a frequent mentor, (3) mentor degree, (4) funding source, and (5) area of research.

Methods: PubMed joint publications from 2002 through 2017 were searched using both medical student and mentor names through 2 years post-graduation.

Results: From all UW School of Medicine Public Health departments, 1108 medical students self-selected projects and mentors. One hundred two (9.2%) students chose the Department of Pediatrics. The majority of these students were female (61%) compared to female medical student participation (42%) in other departments (P = 0.0004). The majority of projects were clinical (53%), with basic science (26%) and public/global health (21%) following, though with more public/global health projects chosen in the Department of Pediatrics (P = 0.002) versus other departments. Overall, frequent mentors improved publication rates (P=0.0008), though frequent mentors (P = 0.45) and publication rates (P = 0.60) did not differ between pediatrics and other departments.

Conclusions: Medical students’ SCP manuscript productivity benefitted from working with frequent mentors, but productivity in the Department of Pediatrics did not differ from other departments.

Author Affiliations: Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH), Madison, Wisconsin (Bauer, Kling); Academic Affairs, UWSMPH, Madison, Wis (Tsenkova); UWSMPH, Madison, Wis (Rosen); Division of Genetics, Departments of Pediatrics, UWSMPH, Madison, Wis (Petty).
Corresponding Author: Adam S. Bauer, MD, Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 1010 Mound Street #413, Madison, WI 53715; phone 608.417.7428; email; ORCID ID 0000-0002-7735-876X
Acknowledgments: The authors wish to thank the Academic Affairs, departments, and research faculty within the University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Medicine and Public Health for their efforts supporting student researchers. They especially acknowledge the UW-Cardiovascular Research Center, Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center, and UW Population Health Institute for both financial and administrative support. They would like to thank former program director Lynne M. Cleeland, former program director; Sarah R. Pavao, training grant supervisor in the UW SMPH Department of Surgery; and Kithy Elliot, administrative assistant to the research program.
Funding/Support: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. The Scholarly Concentration Program Research Fellowships at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health were funded by the Herman and Gwendolyn Shapiro Foundation, Carbone Cancer Center, Cardiovascular Research Center, Surgery Departmental NIH T32 and T35 Training Grants, Public Health and Primary Care Innovations in Medical Education, and clinical and basic science departments within the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
Previous Presentations: Presented, in part, as submitted abstract with posters at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Society of Pediatric Research, the 2021 Pediatric Research Day at UW, and the 2021 Medical Education Day at UW-Madison.
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