BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: While medical student interest groups (IGs, also known as student clubs) are widely offered, their actual use and effectiveness to affect students' specialty choice (eg, increase selection of family medicine) are poorly understood. We performed this study to describe student participation in IGs, association with specialty selection, and perceived benefit of participation. METHODS: An electronic, cross-sectional, quantitative survey of all fourth-year US medical students in 2009 with a Department of Defense service obligation was conducted. Each participant indicated which of 18 listed IGs they attended with a yes or no response. Each participant also rated the overall benefit of IGs on a 9-point scale and provided their top choice for the residency Match. RESULTS: The response rate was 53% (419/797). Students attended an average of 3.5 specialty IGs. For all 18 specialties queried, IG attendance was associated with selection in the Match, and 77% of students attended the IG of their selected specialty. However, IG participation was perceived as having a small effect on specialty choice, as the mean response was 3.6 (standard de-viation=2.4) on a 1 to 9 scale. CONCLUSIONS: IG participation is common and is strongly associated with specialty choice, but the benefit appears to be small.
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - Oct 2011|