HSC Education Days

Experiences and Resiliency of First-generation Medical Students in the Preclinical Curriculum

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This project examines how first-generation and continuing-generation medical students experience the preclinical medical school curriculum. First-generation students have no parent or legal guardian, who obtained earn bachelor’s degree or higher. Continuing-generation students have one or more parent or legal guardian, who earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. This project intends to identify characteristics that enable first-generation students to persist in medical school. Identifying such characteristics can help inform admissions processes, contributing to efforts to train a diverse physician workforce.

This study includes a survey that was administered first- and second-year medical student in the fall of 2018 and the spring or summer of 2019.

Data from both classes was combined and segregated by generational status. Results from two quantitative questions were statistically different. In response to the statement, “Overall, I feel my peers respect me,” first-generation students scored significantly lower than continuing generation students on a Likert-type scale. First-generation students scored significantly higher than their continuing generation counterparts in response to the statement, “As a medical student, finding a good school-life balance has been challenging.” First-generation also students scored significantly higher regarding the challenges of finding a work-life balance when comparing their scores from the first administrations with those of the second administrations.

Qualitative thematic analysis of the open response data is ongoing. The anticipated outcome is a narrative description of the experiences that first-generation medical students bring that enhance the quality of their educational experiences.

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