Radiation Oncology History/Education/Social Media

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TU_42_2904 - Assessment of a Dedicated Preclinical Oncology Module from the Perspective of Future Radiation Oncologists

Tuesday, October 23
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Location: Innovation Hub, Exhibit Hall 3

Assessment of a Dedicated Preclinical Oncology Module from the Perspective of Future Radiation Oncologists
G. H. Boyd1, A. E. Rand1, T. Sachs2, and A. E. Hirsch3; 1Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, 2Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, 3Department of Radiation Oncology, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA

Purpose/Objective(s): Preclinical medical education is widely acknowledged to lack adequate exposure to the field of radiation oncology. Our institution implemented a radiation oncologist-led, dedicated oncology module into the preclinical medical education curriculum in 2009. The module included introductory lectures on radiation oncology and the opportunity for an observership within the radiation oncology department. This survey assessed the attitudes of students applying into radiation oncology from our institution’s Radiation Oncology Mentorship Initiative (ROMI) toward the preclinical oncology exposure provided by the module.

Materials/Methods: A Qualtrics internet-based survey was sent to all 19 current and former students who matched into or are applying for radiation oncology from our medical school between 2011-2018. Responses varied between those on a Likert scale (1-5) and those written as free responses. Data were analyzed using Qualtrics software.

Results: The survey response yield was 100%. 57.9% (11 of 19) of students were satisfied or very satisfied with the preclinical oncology module (Likert average=3.79, “neutral” to “satisfied”). 36.8% (7 of 19) of students reported the school did a “good” to “excellent” job in introducing radiation oncology in the preclinical curriculum (Likert average=2.21, “fair” to “good”). 68.4% (13 of 19) students reported that the oncology module had an impact on their decision to apply for radiation oncology. 31.6% (6 of 19) of these students reported the module had “quite a bit” to “an extreme amount” of influence on their decision (Likert average=2.15, “some” to “quite a bit”). Free text responses asking what could be done to improve radiation oncology education at the medical school yielded answers desiring increased exposure in the preclinical years from 15.8% (3 of 19) students.

Conclusion: Future radiation oncologists reported that a radiation oncologist-led, dedicated oncology module was a useful addition to the preclinical curriculum at one institution. Students who applied to radiation oncology were overall satisfied with the module and a majority reported that it influenced their career choice, with almost one-third reporting it had a strong impact on their decision. This finding is important, as it shows the considerable effect a preclinical curriculum can have on attracting students to radiation oncology, a field often underrepresented in medical education. Increased radiation oncology didactic sessions are warranted in this module to provide a more thorough introduction to the field. With the success of this module, nationwide implementation of preclinical oncology curricula with early exposure to radiation oncology should be explored.

Author Disclosure: G.H. Boyd: None. T. Sachs: None. A.E. Hirsch: None.

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