Cardiothoracic Surgery Training Program Director Awareness of Available Visiting Medical Student Clerkships for the Underrepresented in Medicine

Published:September 17, 2021DOI:
      A diversity gap exists within cardiothoracic (CT) surgery that might be addressed with currently available medical student pipeline programs. We sought to assess CT surgery residency/fellowship program directors’ (PD) awareness of and participation in underrepresented in medicine visiting medical student clerkship programs (UIM-VMSCPs). We reviewed the ACGME program finder database and medical school websites to identify thoracic surgery training programs that: (1) offer visiting student clerkships (VSCs), (2) are affiliated with an institution offering a UIM-VMSCP, (3) are at an institution where the existing UIM-VMSCP specifically offers rotations in CT surgery. The PDs in the second group were surveyed via e-mail, assessing their level of awareness of UIM-VMSCPs at their institution, participation in UIM-VMSCPs over the past 3 years, and desire to participate in a UIM-VMSCP in the future. All (n = 76) ACGME CT surgery training programs were affiliated with institutions that offered VSCs in multiple disciplines. Over half, 55.3%, of the programs offered access to visiting students and 61.8% were at institutions with existing UIM-VMSCPs. Our response rate for the 47 PDs from institutions with UIM-VMSCPs was 38.2%. Of the respondents, 61.1% were aware of the UIM-VMSCP at their institution and 44.4% participated in the past 3 years. Most, 88.9% were interested in participating in their institution's UIM-VMSCP in the future. Only half of CT surgery training programs offer VSCs and even fewer are at institutions with an existing UIM-VMSCP that offers a CT surgery clerkship. This is a lost opportunity to broaden exposure to the specialty and increase diversity within the CT surgery workforce.

      Graphical Abstract



      AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education), CT surgery (Cardiothoracic surgery), PD (Program Directors), REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture), UIM (Under-Represented in Medicine), UIM-VMSCPs (Underrepresented in Medicine Visiting Medical Student Clerkship Programs), VMSCs (Visiting Medical Student Clerkships)
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      Linked Article

      • Commentary: Increasing Awareness of Medical Student Programs to Improve Cardiothoracic Surgery Training and Workforce Diversity
        Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular SurgeryVol. 34Issue 4
        • Preview
          The United States has become an increasingly diverse nation.1 At present, however, our cardiothoracic (CT) surgery workforce does not reflect our racially and ethnically diverse patient population.2 Lack of medical student exposure to CT surgery may be at the forefront of this problem.2 In this issue of the Seminars, Martin and colleagues highlight current utilization of Underrepresented in Medicine Visiting Medical Student Clerkship Programs (UIM-VMSCPs).3 The authors surveyed CT surgery program director's (PD's) awareness and current utilization of general visiting medical student clerkships (VMSCs) as well as UIM-VMSCPs in CT surgery.
        • Full-Text
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      • Commentary: Awareness: The First Step to Change
        Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular SurgeryVol. 34Issue 4
        • Preview
          The last few years have witnessed the growing awareness and need for increasing workforce diversity within the field of cardiothoracic surgery. Lack of exposure to the field of cardiothoracic surgery has been identified as a major barrier to the diversification of the field.1 In this regard Martin and colleagues conducted a survey among the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) program directors to measure the awareness and utilization of underrepresented in medicine visiting medical student clerkship programs (UIM-VMSCPs).
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        • PDF