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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Little is known about whether students would disclose a history of mental illness on a residency or state medical licensure applications if disclosure were required. This study uses preliminary data to explore the burden of perceived mental illness among medical students, whether or not medical students would be willing to disclose this information on a residency or licensure application if prompted, and reasons for disclosure hesitance. METHODS: We electronically invited all University of New Mexico School of Medicine (UNM SOM) students enrolled in the Classes of 2019-2022 to participate in a REDCap survey about the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Four e-mails were sent to these students over a one-month period. This process was then repeated the following year targeting all medical students in the Classes of 2020-2023 at the UNM SOM. RESULTS: The average response rate for the two years of analysis was 49.3% (391 respondents). There was no significant effect due to difference in the two cohorts (p-value= 0.51). There was a significant effect of year in school and odds of perceived worsening of mental health (p-value= < 0.001). The odds ratio of worsening mental health when compared to 1st-year students for the pooled cohorts was highest in 3rd year students at 11.8 (95% CI: 6.09-22.88). 45% of polled students perceived that their mental health worsened during medical school. 62% of students would not disclose their mental condition to ERAS and 51% of respondents would not disclose this information on a licensure application to the New Mexico Board of Medical Education if prompted. CONCLUSION: Students who perceive themselves to have mental health conditions are unlikely to disclose their mental health status on residency applications or state medical board applications when asked to do so. Furthermore there appears to be an association between year in school and mental health status, although more data is required.

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This presentation was presented during the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Education Day, 2019.

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