The development of a mandatory medical thesis in an urban medical school

Teach Learn Med. 2005 Fall;17(4):363-9. doi: 10.1207/s15328015tlm1704_9.


Background: The objective of this study was to describe the development of a primary care medical student's thesis.

Description: In 1995, as part of its primary care clerkship, the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (Drew University), College of Medicine created a curriculum requiring medical students to develop, design, and implement a research project during their 2-year longitudinal clinical experience. For this study, we reviewed all student research projects generated between 1995 and 2004.

Evaluation: Among the 112 research projects, topics covered included internal medicine (29.5%), obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN; 22%), psychosocial issues (20.5%), pediatrics (9%), public health/epidemiology (8%), medical education (8%), and surgery (3%). Mentors included faculty from internal medicine (16%), dean's office (16%), pediatrics (13%), family medicine (11%), non-Drew faculty (10%), OBGYN (9%), psychiatry (9%), surgery (9%), emergency medicine (4%), and pathology/radiology departments (3%). The students' survey showed that 83% agreed that the mentors were valuable, 72% admitted that their knowledge about the research process was improved, about 50% indicated that they were more competitive during residency application, and 80% claimed that they obtained satisfaction from accomplishing a goal.

Conclusion: Students are able to conduct and present a primary care research project as a requirement of their medical training. Most students find the experience beneficial and positive.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Academic Dissertations as Topic*
  • Clinical Clerkship / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Medicine
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Research / organization & administration
  • Schools, Medical*
  • Specialization
  • Students, Medical
  • Urban Population