Background and objectives: As the growth of primary care continues, the need for strengthening the scientific foundations of practice becomes more pressing. Although there is general agreement on the importance of promoting primary care research by medical students, little has been reported on how this can be accomplished. The goal of the program described is to involve medical students in primary care research.
Methods: Over the last 7 years, the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado has promoted the involvement of medical students in primary care research through a program consisting of five elements: 1) a student development program (the Family Medicine Scholars Program), 2) financial support for student research, 3) a core of faculty mentors, 4) a strong coordinating effort by the predoctoral education office, and 5) research agendas geared to student schedules.
Results: The number of students involved in primary care research, presentations, and publication of papers by students has increased since we initiated our medical student research program 7 years ago.
Conclusions: The elements discussed have proven successful at increasing student participation in primary care research.