Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

May the Fourth Be With You: Creation of a Fourth-Year Medical Student Pediatric Conference Series

Eric K. Zwemer,University of North Carolina,Chapel Hill,NC,Richard Hobbs,University of North Carolina,Chapel Hill,NC


The University of North Carolina (UNC) Department of Pediatrics has 5-18 fourth-year medical students complete electives or sub-internships each month. The vast array of available experiences without a unifying curriculum or conference series leads to significantly different experiences for each student. Visiting students in particular may feel isolated during their rotations.


To establish and assess the value of a longitudinal conference series for fourth-year medical students rotating through the UNC Department of Pediatrics.


Emailed surveys were completed by students completing rotations before introduction (n=46) of the conference series and afterwards (preliminary data after 3 blocks, n=30). Although only 59% of students reported that they would have liked a fourth year conference series, 100% of students who participated in the conference series recommended continuation of the program. 93% of students reported that they learned a lot from the conference. Students who went through the conference series were significantly more likely to agree that a sense of community existed among the fourth-year medical students (p=0.003). These students were also significantly more likely to report feeling prepared to teach medical students (p=0.04) and to name two specific educational techniques (p=0.005).


No literature currently exists to evaluate the feasibility and value of a fourth-year medical student pediatrics curriculum. The implementation of our novel curriculum led to an educational, enjoyable experience that created a sense of community for our fourth-year students. As all educational materials have already been created, our curriculum could easily be adopted by other institutions.