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