Introduction: Although all medical school graduates are expected to be educators as residents, and subsequently as faculty, most students receive no formal education on how to teach. At the Uniformed Services University (USU), no formal educational training previously existed for senior medial students as they prepared for residency. A novel Medical Education Elective for MS4s was developed and run by MS4s with faculty mentoring at USU with implementation between January and June 2018. Materials and Methods: The overall goal of the 4-week course was to provide a forum for MS4s to gain exposure to educational theories and teaching methods with an opportunity to practice learned skills in the underclass curriculum. The course's three core components were: didactics, observed teaching, and independent teaching. The course was evaluated via multiple methods including verbal and survey feedback from both first and fourth year medical students. Results: The preliminary outcomes revealed the course had a positive impact on both first-year medical students (MS1s) and MS4s. As of May 2018, 100% (n = 59) of MS1s surveyed reported that having an MS4 teacher contributed positively to their learning experience. All MS4s surveyed (n = 12) agreed that the course enhanced their confidence in teaching. Conclusions: Medical education courses not only offer an opportunity for senior students to cultivate educational theoretical knowledge and teaching skills in preparation for residency but also contribute positively to the learning experiences of underclass students. Now that the elective has been piloted with initial data suggesting feasibility and benefit to both MS4 and MS1 students, the next steps are to focus on ensuring longevity of the course offering at USU and to consider working with senior students at other institutions that lack formal training in education to start similar student run medical education initiatives.
- medical student-as-teacher
- near-peer teaching
- peer-assisted learning
- undergraduate medical education