1394. Impact of Neurosurgery Elective for Medical Students

Authors: Simon Buttrick, MD; John Paul Kolcun, BS; Allan Levi, MD, PhD; Ricardo Komotar, MD (Miami, FL)

Introduction: Neurosurgery is viewed as an inaccessible and esoteric field by many medical students. This is in large part due to the limited exposure most trainees have in medical school. Methods: The authors organized a weekly resident-run neurosurgery elective at the University of Miami with a comprehensive, structured curriculum covering all major areas in neurosurgery with lectures, case discussions, and skills sessions in the cadaver lab and operating room. A survey assessing attitudes towards the field as well as an exam testing basic neurosurgical knowledge were collected at the beginning and the end of the course. Results: The course improved attitudes towards neurosurgery among medical students and self-reported interest in pursuing neurosurgery as a career. We also found a trend towards higher numbers of applicants since inception of the course. Average scores on the exam increased from 26% to 62% after completion of the course (p<0.05). Conclusion: Our neurosurgery elective was popular with medical students and significantly improved attitudes towards the field, as well as knowledge of neurosurgical diagnosis and management.