Academic Skills Building through Global Health
Satterfield, Caley A.
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Research skills are not routinely a part of medical school training. Medical students, however, are frequently required to conduct and disseminate research. The Academic Skills Building through Global Health project at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) is an initiative to teach first-year medical students participating in global health electives how to develop, implement, and disseminate a scholarly project through short-term, mentored global health learning experiences. For the purpose of this educational initiative, the term “scholarly” can refer to traditional hypothesis-driven research (both basic science and social science), quality improvement, or topical literature reviews. Online modules were developed as the mode of instruction for scholarly skills. UTMB mentors were assigned based on the field site destination of students. This mixed-methods study examined whether the online modules increased student self-perceived confidence in developing, implementing, and disseminating a scholarly project. A repeated measure study design was employed to measure student self-perceived confidence before and after viewing the online modules. The mentors’ perceptions of student preparedness and students’ perceptions of the mentorship component of the project were explored through thematic analysis of interviews. A statistically significant increase in self-perceived confidence on scholarly skills was found across all three modules. Student and mentor interviews provided insights into aspects of the mentorship and preparation program that are functioning as expected, need revision, or need additional areas of preparation to develop. The results of this evaluation will be instrumental in refining the training model utilized for first-year global health students at UTMB.