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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The influence of longitudinal mentoring on medical student selection of primary care residencies

Diane Indyk1*, Darwin Deen2, Alice Fornari3, Maria T Santos4, Wei-Hsin Lu5 and Lisa Rucker6

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, Jacobi Medical Center of Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA

2 Department of Medicine, Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, City College of New York, NY, USA

3 Office of Faculty Development, Hofstra University School of Medicine in partnership with North Shore-Long Island Jewish Healthy, Long Island, NY, USA

4 Department of Family Medicine, Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA

5 Office of the Dean, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Long Island, NY, USA

6 Department of Medicine, Jacobi Medical Center of Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA

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BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:27  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-27

Published: 2 June 2011

Abstract

Background

The number of students selecting careers in primary care has declined by 41% in the last decade, resulting in anticipated shortages.

Methods

First-year medical students interested in primary care were paired with primary care mentors. Mentors were trained, and mentors and students participated in focus groups at the end of each academic year. Quantitative and qualitative results are presented.

Results

Students who remained in the mentoring program matched to primary care programs at 87.5% in the first year and 78.9% in the second year, compared to overall discipline-specific match rates of 55.8% and 35.9% respectively. Students reported a better understanding of primary care and appreciated a relationship with a mentor.

Conclusions

A longitudinal mentoring program can effectively support student interest in primary care if it focuses on the needs of the students and is supportive of the mentors.