A Clinical Vision Research Training and Mentoring Program as a Model for Ophthalmology and Other Medical Specialties: Implementation and Evaluation
26 October 2015
21 June 2017
25 July 2017 (online)
Background Over the past 50 years, there has been a decline in the number of physicians pursuing careers in clinical research. In ophthalmology, the need for clinician-investigators continues to grow with the increasing eye-care demands of the aging population. Expert panels have recommended exposing medical students early in their training to structured, didactic curricula with clinical research experience and mentoring opportunities.
Methods To address this need, the Department of Research, Wills Eye Hospital, developed an 8-week Clinical Vision Research Training and Mentoring Program for undergraduate and medical students. The curriculum included an 11-hour lecture series on topics in research methods in ophthalmology and a 10-hour scientific writing workshop series. The program also involved hands-on participation in vision research projects and shadowing in one of Wills' subspecialty services. Students completed 40-question pre- and posttests on ophthalmology and research methodology. Scores were analyzed using a paired-sample t-test. The program also utilized a satisfaction survey.
Results During 2014 and 2015, a total of 34 students out of 56 applicants were accepted to the Clinical Vision Research Training and Mentoring Program. Students scored significantly higher on the posttest (mean [M] = 79.78%, standard deviation [SD] = 6.25) than on the pretest (M = 71.43%, SD = 8.43); p< 0.001. Using a satisfaction survey, students strongly agreed that they were satisfied with the program and that the lecture series and manuscript writing workshops enhanced their learning.
Conclusions The Wills Eye Clinical Vision Research Training and Mentoring Program provided an evidence-based foundation in research methods and manuscript development for students interested in careers in ophthalmology. Students emerged with clinical research skills and an increased understanding and appreciation of vision research. Results of the pre- and posttest analysis indicate that lecture material supplemented with hands-on experience can lead to better understanding of ophthalmology. This pilot program can serve as a research training and mentoring model for ophthalmology and other medical and surgical specialties.
Keywordsophthalmology - mentoring - medical student - clinical research - clinician-investigator - training model - vision research
Ethical approval was granted by the Wills Eye Hospital Institutional Review Board on June 2, 2014 (IRB #14–388E).
J.A.H is a consultant for Merck, Janssen, ThromboGenics, Novartis, and KalVista and a board member for Celgene. No other authors have financial disclosures.
J.A.H., L.H., A.P.M., and E.J. conceived of the program and participated in its design and coordination. L.H., C.W., M.W., E.L.M., D.M.W., S.S., and K.S. acquired, analyzed, and interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript. All authors critically revised the manuscript for important intellectual content and approved the final manuscript.
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