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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 701-702  

Research in undergraduate education: A transformational change

Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, Lokmanya Tilak Medical College and Sion Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication18-Nov-2014

Correspondence Address:
Avinash N Supe
Lokmanya Tilak Medical College and Sion Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Supe AN. Research in undergraduate education: A transformational change. Med J DY Patil Univ 2014;7:701-2

How to cite this URL:
Supe AN. Research in undergraduate education: A transformational change. Med J DY Patil Univ [serial online] 2014 [cited 2022 Jan 27];7:701-2. Available from:

A transformational medical reform is the buzzword in contemporary medical literature and is also emphasized well in all forums. To bring transformation into medical graduates and practice to effectively deliver health services to community, it is now emphasized that students should be exposed to clinical experiences much earlier in the career - During 1 st year of medical education. This not only creates enthusiasm in students but also provides context to fruitful long-term learning among them. On similar terms all over the world, a lot of emphases are now being placed on practicing evidence-based medicine. Evidence-based medicine cannot be completely understood unless you have some research understanding. Hence for the general population to benefit from evidence-based medicine and other new locally developed practices, there is a need to promote research as a culture among health professionals and the students in training.

All over the world, there has been growing interest in research amongst undergraduate (UG) medical students. Research experience for UG students has been shown to be useful in building their careers at later stage. Keeping in this mind, there have been researching units at prominent universities in Europe and USA that are functional. Majority of leading universities have UG research programs for last few decades. Over last few years UG students research conferences are held with great enthusiasm all over the world. These are well attended by UGs as well as are presentation platforms for these students.

India, though slower has now been catching up with this momentum. Indian council of Medical Research (ICMR) introduced short term research fellowships way back in 1979. However, they have become popular over the last decade and now in great demand. This is offered to students for a period of 2 months during vacation (a total of Rs. 10000). Initially, such scholarships were <100 few years ago and are now reaching >1000/year. It is a common scenario that a 2 nd year UG student is seen with a faculty discussing research project. This changed scenario is welcome and should be encouraged by all. This experience of research in young students not only trains him/her to look information with a different viewpoint and makes him/her a better physician as a whole. Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) by Government of India (since 1999) is another example of longer research fellowship. We believe that opportunities like ICMR/KVPY scholarships should be utilized to mentor medical students toward an academic medical career. Simple modifications like giving importance to research activity during selection for postgraduate courses, arranging student conferences, promotion of inter-institutional collaborative research, early exposure to research methodology training and encouraging students to take dedicated research time-off are some of the possible ways of augmenting the current medical curriculum to produce academic physicians, and clinician-researchers.

One of the consequences of this research interest is regular UG research conferences. Moving academy initiated this momentum. Now Trinity (from L T Medical College, Mumbai since last 4 years), Confluence (GS Medical College, Mumbai from 2014) and other Conferences have been arranged with enthusiasm and interest not only from students but also from faculty.

There are very few studies that have evaluated factors that influence student's interest and its impact on student's career. The study by Gore et al., [1] has not only analysed the STS program as a tool in sensitization of UG medical students toward research activity but have also studied impeding and facilitating factors that affect student's research interest. They have also studied the effect of UG research experience on student learning and attitude toward research were studied. This paper records perceptions of students who have taken research projects as well as those who had avoided taking part due to few inhibitions. Inhibitions for taking up the projects were lack of knowledge, time constraints and lack of confidence. Factors attributed for successful project completion were a constant support from the guide, self-enthusiasm and proper time management. Though publication rate was low, >90% had felt that these projects influenced their understanding of the subject. This is a significant finding that can influence students taking research projects in the future.

In spite of heavy UG curriculum and many challenges there is growing interest in research amongst Undergraduate medical students and is a welcome trend. This not only improves their analytical skills but also facilitates their understanding of various subjects. Students are very satisfied with research experience and have a sense of achievement. In fact, this will not only influence their academic career, but also transform this change into better health care delivery to the community. These experiences have students were highly satisfied with their experiences, with 80% feeling that it increased their interest in applying principles they learned to the practice of medicine. The new Medical Council of India Reforms has also suggested electives and research experiences, and I am sure in coming years we will see this becoming integral part of UG curriculum in India.

  References Top

Gore CR, Jadhav SL, Dubhashi SP, Buch AC, Chandanwale SS. Assessment of the impact of short term studentship (STS) programme on attitude of under-graduate medical students towards future research. Med J D Y Patil Univ 2014;7:696-700.  Back to cited text no. 1


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