The rising physicians program: A novel approach for mentoring medical students

Sean E. Scott, Stacy Cook, Maria Alejandra Farmer, Shawn K. Kim, Roland W. Pomfret, Kristen Samardzic, Joshua D. Hartzell, Jeffrey W. Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: The transition to medical school is a particularly challenging time for new students as they are faced with significant academic responsibilities. Moreover, for many students at the Uniformed Services University they are adjusting to being on active duty in the military. Mentoring has been considered a way to help with the transition and professional development. Prior to 2015, there was no formal mentoring program for new students at the Uniformed Services University. Materials and Methods: In order to address the demands and challenges facing matriculating medical students, the Rising Physicians Program was created. This student initiated program enabled preclerkship medical students to connect with residents at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center via a secure database with resident profiles. Residents were recruited and voluntarily agreed to serve as mentors. Students were then able to access the database and reach out to mentors based on their specific goals. The program was introduced to students during orientation and student participation was completely voluntary. A survey was designed using best survey practices and sent to the 175 students participating in the program for the 2015 academic (class of 2019) year to determine participation and characteristics of the program. Results: Sixty-four percent (112/175) of the students from the class of 2019 participated in the post-implementation survey. Fifteen percent of the class (26/175) reported participating in the voluntary mentoring program. The three most commonly used communication methods with mentors in precedence were in-person, e-mail, and text messages. The majority of the students found their interactions in this program were beneficial and did not get in the way of their academic performance. The most common topics of discussion were academics (20%), mentor's past experience (22%), military lifestyle (7%), medical school pathways (23%), and specialty selections (23%). Limitations of the program included a lack of U.S. Air Force mentors and mentors within certain residency specialties. Conclusions: The Rising Physician Program provides a near-peer mentoring model for new medical students. Students preferred to communicate with their mentors in person, but the flexibility of communication appears to be important. New students have a variety of academic and professional development concerns that could partially be addressed through mentoring by residents.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberusy289
Pages (from-to)e164-e167
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


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