Pheley AM, Lois H, Strobl J. Interests in Research Electives Among Osteopathic Medical Students. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2006;106(11):667–670. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2006.106.11.667.
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Context: The number of physician-researchers in the United States is in decline. Osteopathic medical schools must examine strategies for increasing the number of trained clinical researchers.
Objectives: To assess the interest of first- and second-year osteopathic medical students in taking an elective research course during their third and fourth years of medical school; and to examine the relationship among students' personal characteristics, previous research experience, and elective research courses.
Design: Fifteen-question, self-administered, cross-sectional survey.
Setting: Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg in September 2004.
Participants: First- and second-year osteopathic medical students.
Main Outcome Measures: Personal characteristics, previous research experience, and research elective interest (8-week vs 12-week course; and clinical/population vs basic science focus).
Results: The response rate was 83.9% (N=255 [149 first-year students; 106 second-year students]), with 51% women responding. Approximately 72% of students had worked on a research project at some time during undergraduate or medical training, and 42% had completed an undergraduate, data-based thesis. Students reported greater interest in a 12-week elective (34%) than an 8-week elective (23%), and two thirds preferred a clinical and/or population to a basic science focus.
Conclusions: Colleges of osteopathic medicine must develop research training and mentoring programs to foster such interests in their students, and innovative recruitment approaches need to be developed for DO/PhD degree programs. These strategies will help provide meaningful research education and experiences to osteopathic medical students.
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