Medical Education  |   July 2016
Assessment of Research Interests of First-Year Osteopathic Medical Students
Author Notes
  • From the Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest in Lebanon, Oregon. 
  •  *Address correspondence to John Carter, OMS III, MS, Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest, 200 Mullins Dr, Lebanon, OR 97355-3983. E-mail: jlcarter@westernu.edu
     
Article Information
Medical Education
Medical Education   |   July 2016
Assessment of Research Interests of First-Year Osteopathic Medical Students
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, July 2016, Vol. 116, 472-478. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2016.091
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, July 2016, Vol. 116, 472-478. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2016.091
Abstract

Context: According to a 2014 survey, 59% of students entering allopathic medical school reported previous research experience. However, limited data exist on the amount of research experience that students have before entering osteopathic medical school. A strong understanding of the research skills and level of interest of first-year osteopathic medical students is essential for developing research programs at osteopathic medical schools. Limited data exist on the amount of research experience that students have before starting osteopathic medical school. A strong understanding of the research skills and level of interest of first-year medical students is essential for developing research programs at osteopathic medical schools.

Objective: To determine the amount of previous research experience of first-year osteopathic medical students, their level of interest in participating in research during medical school, the factors influencing their interest in research, and their research fields of interest.

Methods: First-year osteopathic medical students (class of 2019) at the Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, California (WesternU/COMP), and Pacific-Northwest in Lebanon, Oregon (WesternU/COMP-Northwest), campuses were surveyed about their previous research experiences and whether they were interested in participating in research during medical school. Surveys were administered through an anonymous online portal. Responses were evaluated for evidence of interest in conducting research.

Results: Of the 346 osteopathic medical students invited to participate in the study, the response rate was 77% (N=266). A total of 167 from WesternU/COMP and 99 from the WesternU/COMP-Northwest responded. More than 215 students (81%) reported they had participated in research before entering medical school. In addition, 200 students (75%) either expressed a strong interest in participating in research during medical school or were currently conducting research. Among research areas, clinical research was the overwhelming favorite, with 218 students (82%) expressing interest.

Conclusion: First-year osteopathic students may have comparable amounts of research experience as allopathic medical students. Although these findings are limited to 2 campuses of 1 osteopathic medical school, they suggest that first-year osteopathic medical students are highly motivated to participate in research while in medical school.

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