Background: Shortages in primary care careers such as internal medicine are projected in the future. Conducting research is an explicit requirement for graduate medical education and interest in research is growing in undergraduate medical education.
Purpose: We hypothesized that a medical student research initiative could increase student research productivity and foster mentoring relationships with internists.
Method: We compared the number of medical student presentations, awards, and peer-reviewed publications before and after a brief research initiative at a single institution and recorded comments from student participants; data collected before the initiative were retrospective, and data after the initiative were collected prospectively. Mann-Whitney U was used for statistical analysis.
Results: Twenty-seven students participated in our workshop initiative during the study period (2000-2005). Eighteen (67%) subsequently had presentations, research awards, and/or publications during the study period. Mann-Whitney U testing of groups (all pre-initiative Uniformed Services University students and initiative participants) showed a statistically significant increase in regional presentations (p = .003), research awards (p = .01), and publications (p = .02) after the research initiative. Student comments not only revealed research mentoring benefits but also commented on receiving career counseling advice from mentors.
Conclusions: Our study findings support the feasibility of this initiative as well as produced significant outcomes in terms of quantified research productivity and student mentoring.