APPLIED RESEARCH: Reflecting the Relative Values of Community, Faculty, and Students in the Admissions Tools of Medical School
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BACKGROUND: In defining the characteristics of medical students that society and the medical profession find desirable, little effort has been spent assessing the relative value of the dozens of characteristics that have been identified. Furthermore, many institutions go to great lengths to ensure equal representation across stakeholder groups in an effort to maximize the heterogeneity of the pool of students accepted to study medicine; however, the extent to which different stakeholders value different characteristics has yet to be determined. PURPOSE: This study was an attempt to assess the relative value of the characteristics of medical students that society and the medical profession find desirable. METHODS: Using documents created internationally to identify the core competencies of medical personnel, a series of 7 characteristics were generated for inclusion in a study that adopted the paired comparison technique. Of 347 surveyed, 292 respondents indicated the rank ordering they would assign to each characteristic by circling the more important characteristic in all possible pairings. RESULTS: Overwhelmingly, "ethical" was deemed to be the most important characteristic on which selection tools should be based. Surprisingly, the pattern of responses was highly consistent regardless of stakeholder group and degree of affiliation with the undergraduate medical program. CONCLUSIONS: The generalizable features of this study not only include the empirical findings but also demonstrate useful survey protocol that can be adapted by any admission committee to guide the generation of an institution-specific admissions blueprint. A novel protocol that provides the necessary flexibility is discussed.
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