Structure of neuroscience clerkships in medical schools and matching in neuromedicine

Neurology. 2015 Jul 14;85(2):172-6. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001731. Epub 2015 Jun 12.


Objective: Due to the burden of neurologic disease, there is high demand for neurologists, child neurologists, and neurosurgeons. Only 2.6% of graduating medical students matched in neuromedicine residencies in 2014. This number will not likely meet the needs of the population or the projected shortfall. To compensate for this, the medical education system has an obligation to ensure competence in neuromedicine for all trainees and mentorship for students pursuing training in the field. We aim to evaluate the state of the neurology clerkship in US medical schools and how this impacts graduates entering the field.

Methods: Publicly available curricula of 158 US medical schools were reviewed. Presence of a required neurology clerkship, its duration, and the year offered were tabulated, as were the availability of child neurology and neurosurgery electives and affiliated neuromedicine residencies. The total graduating students from each medical school matching into neuromedicine residencies for 2011-2014 were recorded. Repeated-measure analysis of variance was used to assess the relationship of these variables to number of students matching into the collective neuromedicine.

Results: All but 4 schools (97%) published clerkship information. Neurology was a required clerkship at 56% of reporting institutions. Residency match data were not published from 53 schools (35%) and these were excluded from the analysis. In the remaining schools, all variables showed a relationship to students matching in neuromedicine residencies.

Conclusions: The presence of a required neurology clerkship and opportunities for students to explore neuromedicine during medical school correlates with students matching into neuromedicine residencies.

MeSH terms

  • Career Choice
  • Clinical Clerkship*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data
  • Neurology / education*
  • Neurosciences / education