Defining Student Success in Academic Medicine


avatar Alvaro Tori 1 , avatar Sotto-Santiago Sylk 2 , * , avatar Sacha Sharp 3 , avatar Jacqueline Mac 4

1 Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA

2 Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA

3 Associate Director of Career Development and Cultural Inclusion, Medical Student Education, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA

4 Graduate Director for Faculty Affairs and Diversity, Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA

How to Cite: Tori A, Sylk S, Sharp S, Mac J. Defining Student Success in Academic Medicine. J Med Edu. 2018;17(3):e105644. doi: 10.22037/jme.v17i3.20878.


Journal of Medical Education: 17 (3); e105644
Published Online: January 08, 2019
Article Type: Research Article
Received: March 30, 2018
Accepted: October 12, 2018


Background: The U.S. healthcare delivery system must increase the number of physicians who will deliver health care, as well as increase the number of scientists who will analyze and address the ailments that challenge diverse populations. Because medical schools are responsible for the education and preparation of diverse professionals, medical school administrators are working to create and maintain programs that recruit and retain students from underrepresented groups in medicine.Methods: This study follows A Student Success Ad-hoc Committee (SSAC) charged with a) defining student success, b) exploring the success of underrepresented students in medicine based on thisdefinition, and c) drafting recommendations based on data and evidence collected. This self-study evaluates and assesses medical student experiences, their educational attainment, and outcomes at Indiana University School of Medicine. This aim is explored through the application of higher education theories to undergraduate medical education.Results: This paper demonstrates how an interdisciplinary team of academic medicine professionals endeavored to critically study the perceptions of student success in medicine. The study showcasesthe institution’s progress towards defining student success informed by literature on student retention and persistence, learning environments, and student outcomes. The paper includes recommendations based on a reflexive process about three areas: admissions and pre-matriculation, academic promotion, and the educational environment.Conclusion: The authors challenge professional schools in conducting self-studies that expand the utilization of theoretical and conceptual frameworks external to medicine, and reinforce the applicationof higher education research into professional school settings.


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