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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 128-131

Educating medical students about military health: Perspectives from a multidisciplinary lecture initiative

1 Department of Medical Education, Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA
2 Department of Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA

Correspondence Address:
Christos Theophanous
4275 Via Arbolada #201, Los Angeles, CA 90042
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.188754

Background: Medical student education on military health topics is critical in ensuring optimal future care for military service members and their families. Methods: Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (Keck SOM) students were invited to participate in an anonymous, voluntary, online survey ("Pre") rating their level of interest, awareness, exposure and comfort with military health issues on a 5-point Likert scale. A student-organized program of four voluntary lectures discussing military health-related topics was then implemented. Students were invited to re-take the survey ("Post") and also indicate which, if any, lectures they had attended. Results: 230 students completed the "Pre" survey. A statistically significant deviation in responses was observed in all four questions, showing high interest (mean: 3.19 ± 1.20, P = 0.002), low awareness (mean: 2.52 ± 1.15, P < 0.001), low comfort (mean: 2.66 ± 1.11, P < 0.001), and low exposure (mean: 1.80 ± 0.95, P < 0.001) to military health issues. 132 students completed the "Post" survey, including 37 lecture attendees and 95 non-attendees. A statistically significant difference in the level of interest (P < 0.05) and exposure (P < 0.05) was observed between these groups. Discussion: Medical schools that lack military health curricula may underprepare students to care for military-affiliated patients. Student-led programs can help introduce this topic before formalized curricula are instituted.

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