Context: Medical students, especially at osteopathic medical schools, have limited research exposure. Systematic instruction in research, supervised by qualified mentors, could motivate osteopathic medical students to pursue research in their careers, thereby increasing the number of future clinician-scientists. Recruiting and retaining suitable research mentors are crucial to sustaining such programs, but this task is also particularly challenging for osteopathic medical schools. Objectives: To assess mentors' experiences in a voluntary student-mentor medical research program. Methods: An online survey was sent to 76 university- or hospital-based participants who previously mentored 219 medical students between 2014 and 2019. The questionnaire consisted of 13 items with responses in checklist, five-point Likert scale, and categorical multiple-choice formats, assessing motivation for participation, satisfaction with the program, and interest in future participation. Data were analyzed descriptively, and responses from mentors at the university and hospital were compared using univariate logistic and ordinal regression analyses. Results: Among 70 (92.1%) mentors who responded to the survey, 61 (87.1%) reported being motivated by a desire to help medical students learn research. Forty-nine (70.0%) mentors indicated that furthering their own research productivity was a motivation, and hospital-based mentors were statistically significantly more likely to endorse this source of motivation (OR=2.02; 95% CI=1.18–3.45; p=0.01). Most respondents were satisfied with the quality of the students' work (59 [84.3%]) and with the program (59 [85.5%]). However, 46 (65.7%) suggested the program could be enhanced by requiring medical students to be physically present in the clinic or laboratory for a minimum amount of time. Importantly, most (58 [84.1%]) mentors reported that they would be interested in participating in future mentored research programs. Conclusions: Mentors were motivated to participate in the voluntary research program for both altruistic and professional reasons. Since most mentors reported being satisfied with the program, it is likely they would participate in future mentored research programs. Our results suggest that mentors viewed this voluntary research program as mutually beneficial.
- Medical education
- Medical student