Educational Intervention in a Medically Underserved Area

Joel Atance, MSc, PhD; Morgan Mickalis, OMS IV; and Brianna Kincade, OMS IV
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: October 12, 2017

Accepted: November 17, 2017

Published: April 1, 2018

J Osteopath Med; 118(4): 219-224

Context: Medical students from rural and medically underserved areas (MUAs) are more likely than their peers to practice medicine in rural areas and MUAs. However, students from MUAs are also more likely to face socioeconomic barriers to a career in medicine.

Objectives: To determine whether a week-long summer enrichment experience (SEE) at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Carolinas could successfully teach high school students from MUAs basic biomedical concepts and foster an interest in medicine and the health sciences.

Methods: The SEE program is open to high school students in the Spartanburg, South Carolina, area. The program includes interactive lectures, laboratories, demonstrations on gross anatomy prosections, demonstrations on medical simulation models, tours of emergency vehicles, an introduction to osteopathic manipulative medicine, and student-led research projects. Participants were asked to complete a 15-question quiz that assessed their knowledge of basic biomedical concepts and a 10-question survey that assessed their attitudes toward careers in medicine and health sciences. Both the quiz and the survey were completed on both the first and final days of the program. The data were analyzed using paired t tests.

Results: Participant knowledge of basic biomedical concepts, as determined by the quiz scores, increased after completion of the program (9.1 average correct answers vs 12.6 average correct answers) (P<.001). Participant attitude toward medicine and the health sciences improved in 9 of the 10 items surveyed after completion of the program (P<.05).

Conclusions: Participant knowledge of basic biomedical concepts and their knowledge of and interest in careers in the health sciences improved after completing the SEE program. These findings suggest that educational interventions for high school students could help to develop primary care physicians for rural areas and MUAs and that there is a role for osteopathic medical schools to nurture these students as early as possible.

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