Submission Type

Application of Best Practices


Problem Statement: Maine Medical Center (MMC) lacks a robust shadowing program, and there is inequity in shadowing opportunities for students from underrepresented minorities and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Physician shadowing is essential for college students interested in going to medical school as it helps students make career decisions and strengthens their medical school applications. As we continue to expand our undergraduate programs in medical education and seek to grow our physician workforce, we need to provide students with equal opportunities to observe careers in medicine in order to foster interest and passion for the health field.

Background: A robust body of literature demonstrates the powerful impact of shadowing on premedical students. Shadowing increases students’ familiarity with physician responsibilities before committing to a career in medicine, intensifies their desire to attend medical school, and createshttps://www.zotero.org/google-docs/?MS4GBz an opportunity for them to develop career mentorship. Despite its importance, finding shadowing opportunities is often difficult for students, particularly for underrepresented minorities and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Nationally and locally, the medical field struggles to recruit a diverse work force, which is imperative in addressing and improving health disparities. Part of the solution involves developing pipeline programs, such as shadowing experiences, to promote early exposure to the medical field and inspire students from all backgrounds to pursue a medical career. Around the country, shadowing programs are being developed to increase diversity in medical schools and the medical profession. Currently, MMC has a pipeline program, but it lacks resources to organize a robust shadowing program. With over 500 requests from students to shadow physicians at MMC over the past 2 years, there is a clear demand to improve the current shadowing program.

Application/Recommendation: In examining other academic institutions’ experience with implementing shadowing programs, and recognizing the demands of our community in Maine, we recommended improving the shadowing program for MMC. These recommendations included building on the current pipeline program, hiring a program coordinator to limit the administrative burden for physicians, recruiting physician mentors via an online database, providing resources to mentors on expectations and support, and using an online curriculum for students to make shadowing experiences more meaningful and longitudinal. By making shadowing part of the culture, increasing the number of shadowing positions, and streamlining the application process, we could create more equitable opportunities for all students to obtain shadowing experiences. This plan aligns strongly with MMC’s Mission on Innovation, in which the institution has committed to investing in people, inspiring others, fostering creativity, and supporting lifelong learning and education.



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