Supporting Medical Student Scholarship: A Novel Case Report Elective to Teach the Writing and Publishing Process.

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Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges


PROBLEM: Successful residency placement requires medical students to pursue activities beyond formal education, including showing their commitment to the specialty. Case reports are a common publication pursued by medical students, which provide trainees with opportunities to show commitment to the specialty, broaden their clinical and scholarly knowledge, improve their ability to find and interpret literature, and gain faculty mentorship. However, case reports can be intimidating to trainees with limited exposure to medical writing and publishing. The authors describe a case report elective designed specifically for medical students.

APPROACH: Since 2018, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine has offered a week-long medical student elective designed to teach the process of writing and publishing a case report. Students wrote a first draft of a case report during the elective. Students could pursue publication, including revisions and journal submission, after the elective. An optional, anonymous survey was sent to students who participated in the elective to evaluate their experience with the elective, motivations for taking the elective, and perceived outcomes.

OUTCOMES: Between 2018 and 2021, the elective was taken by 41 second-year medical students. Five scholarship outcomes of the elective were measured, including conference presentations (35, 85% of students) and publications (20, 49% of students). Students who completed the survey (n = 26) indicated the elective was very valuable with an average score of 85 ± 15.6 (range: minimally valuable [0] to extremely valuable [100]).

NEXT STEPS: Next steps for this elective will be to allocate more faculty time to this curriculum promoting both education and scholarship at the institution, and to curate a list of journals to ease the publication process. Overall, student experiences with this case report elective were positive. This report aims to provide a framework for other schools to implement similar courses for their preclinical students.


Online ahead of print.





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