Article Text

  1. D. A. Hall,
  2. M. Efird,
  3. J. Sheeder,
  4. D. Smith,
  5. C. Wells,
  6. T. Box,
  7. A. L. Shroyer
  1. University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver, CO


Purpose To fulfill a requirement of the clinical science (CLSC) course “Clinical Outcomes Assessment” at the University of Colorado, participating students in the program designed a survey to evaluate student perceptions related to the Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP) and to identify opportunities for improvement.

Methods The students designed a 99-question series in an on-line Web-based survey using a 5-point Likert scale to evaluate the structures, processes, and outcomes that might be anticipated from any successful NIH K-30 funded program. The survey covered the following domains: (1) self- assessments related to accreditation for GME research-related competencies; (2) course scheduling; (3) support required for manuscript/grant writing; (4) faculty mentorship; and (5) career development goals and planning. Respondents were asked about both the courses taken and their manuscript/grant writing productivity.

Summary of Results Sixty-five (56%) students responded. Results for the five domains included (1) statistically significant improvement in student perceptions related to their self-assessment for competencies from the start of the program to the time of survey; (2) student responses increased from “unsure”/"disagree" toward “agree” for the following constructs: (a) devise/rigorously test experimental hypotheses; (b) relate clinical research to the development of new modalities; (c) comply with ethical standards; (d) successfully conduct a clinical research project; and (e) select/apply the appropriate research method/statistical approach to a given research question. The most striking result, however, was that the CRTP was not successful in coordinating faculty mentor support for student research projects. When a mentorship was documented to exist outside of the program, almost all students were satisfied that their faculty mentoring relationship had successfully met their expectations. Approximately 78% of the student survey respondents noted a lack of satisfaction with the CLSC Program's support to find a primary faculty mentor who met their research project needs and long-term career goals.

Conclusions Overall, the CRTP students indicated the curriculum was successfully meeting their needs. Given that the program currently has over 78 dedicated graduate school faculty, representing a wide diversity of clinical and analytical disciplines, the survey finding that many students were missing a faculty mentorship relationship was unanticipated. Although other NIH funding options for “Mentoring a Mentor” programs exist, the program students recommended that NIH support K-30 programs incorporating this type of mentoring outreach as well as providing fiscal incentives to mentors in the future.

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