Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

Medals4Mettle: A humanistic way for medical students and pediatric patients to bond

Pradip D. Patel,University of Louisville SOM,Louisville,KY,McKenzie R. Vater,University of Louisville SOM,Louisville,KY,Kanya Ayyanar,University of Louisville SOM,Louisville,KY,Karen H. Miller,University of Louisville SOM,Louisville,KY,Craig Ziegler,University of Louisville SOM,Louisville,KY

Background: Humanism is a necessary component of patient care and is underutilized by many practicing physicians. American medical schools are now implementing strategies to educate medical students about the humanistic side of medicine. The University of Louisville School Of Medicine (ULSOM) encourages such practices through collaboration with Medals4Mettle (M4M), an international non-profit organization that gives marathon medals to patients battling debilitating illnesses. The chapter at ULSOM matches students participating in the Kentucky Derby Half Marathon/Marathon with pediatric patients, allowing students to establish a relationship with their “running buddies” months prior to gifting their medals on race day.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the program at the ULSOM in order to create a replicable model for other schools to employ as a tool for implementing humanism in a unique way.

Methods: We conducted a survey for current and previous participants, which included medical student runners and patients/parents. Participants were asked to complete six 5-point Likert scaled questions anchored with “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree” and three open-ended questions. The surveys were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test for the quantitative analysis and the Pandit’s variation of Glaser and Straus’ constant comparison for qualitative analysis.

Results: Sixty-two medical students and 20 pediatric patients/parents responded to the survey. Five of the six scaled questions had mean scores above 4.0, revealing that the majority of participants would recommend the M4M program to others, that it was a good use of their time and that it helped students relate to their patient on a personal level. The qualitative analysis identified three themes between both student and patient participant: M4M is a wonderful program, it provides a child/patient benefit and it allows you to connect with others.

Discussion: Findings from the survey suggest the implementation of programs like M4M will promote the integration of humanistic practices into medical school curricula. In the future we plan to pair the medical students with the patients early on to create a longer-lasting, more meaningful relationship prior to the race.