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

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Abstract

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.

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