Emerging Trends in the Prevalence of Military Medicine Interest Groups and Specialty Tracks at U.S. Medical Schools

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Military Medicine


Introduction: A challenge confronting health care is the national physician shortage, notably impacting the DoD's recruitment of military physicians. To address this, the Health Professions Scholarship Program is annually awarded to medical students to facilitate their transition into the U.S. Armed Forces. There is a glaring absence of military medical education in civilian schools to accommodate the unique interests of these students. While medical schools have adapted with interest groups and specialty tracks, the current presence of military medicine interest groups (MMIGs) and military medicine specialty tracks (MMSTs) remains under-explored. This study aimed to (1) update the prevalence of MMIGs in U.S. medical institutions, (2) identify the presence of MMSTs, and (3) compare military medicine involvement between allopathic and osteopathic programs.

Methods: The study was approved for exempt status from the Kansas City University Institutional Review Board (study number 20,211,568-1). In a cross-sectional analysis, surveys were sent to 208 U.S. medical schools, with responses from student services or available public data from 200 institutions included in the final analysis. A secondary survey was sent to respondents who provided MMIG or MMST contacts.

Results: Results indicated that 62% (n = 124/200) of schools currently have an established MMIG, a modest growth from 56% (n = 70/125) in 2015 (p = .14). MMST prevalence, however, is minimal at 2.5% (5/200). Osteopathic institutions demonstrated a significantly greater engagement in military medicine education (88.7%) compared to allopathic schools (52.4%) (p < .001).

Conclusion: This research underscores the need for comprehensive military medical training in medical schools to meet the interests and career aspirations of their students. Future studies should also evaluate the efficacy of MMIGs and MMSTs in preparing students for military medical roles.



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