Is Medical Student Interest in Cardiothoracic Surgery Maintained After Receiving Scholarship Awards?

The Annals of Thoracic Surgery

PubMedID: 26101097

Trehan K, Zhou X, Yang SC. Is Medical Student Interest in Cardiothoracic Surgery Maintained After Receiving Scholarship Awards?. Ann Thorac Surg. 2015;.
BACKGROUND
Medical student exposure to cardiothoracic surgery has been facilitated by many scholarship opportunities. This study reviews the long-term interest of students at our institution who have received such support.

METHODS
After the first or second year of medical school, participants were selected to receive scholarships for clinical or research activities in cardiothoracic surgery ranging from 4 to 8 weeks in duration. These were funded by the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Southern Thoracic Surgical Association, or a private family donor. Over time, each student's scholarship type, current interest in cardiothoracic surgery, and current education or career status was prospectively monitored in an institutional database.

RESULTS
Since 1999, 45 students received scholarships. Eight (18%) were funded by the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, two (4%) by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons one (2%) by the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association, and 34 (76%) by private donors. The median follow-up of graduated students is 7 years. Of the 20 (44%) with an active current interest in cardiothoracic surgery, 2 are faculty, 1 is a fellow, 1 is in an integrated 6-year program, 11 are in general surgery residency and are planning to apply to cardiothoracic surgery fellowship, and the remaining 5 are in medical school and planning a cardiothoracic surgery career. Of all former medical students who received cardiothoracic surgery research scholarships and who have now made a career choice, 17.4% chose cardiothoracic surgery.

CONCLUSIONS
More than one-third of medical students who received scholarships in cardiothoracic surgery maintained their interest over time, and more than half maintained interest in a surgical field. Although long-term data are scarce, it remains critical to foster mentoring relationships with students over time to guide their career choices.