Online mentorship program in urology improves opportunities for diverse students

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Participants who completed a survey following the intervention indicated that the program was most helpful for networking with other applicants, finding a mentor, and serving as an introduction to urology.

An online mentorship program developed for underrepresented in medicine (URiM) students was shown to increase exposure to the field of urology and improve networking opportunities, according to findings published in Urology.1

The average satisfaction with the experience (based on a scale of 0-5) was 4.85 among all participants.

The average satisfaction with the experience (based on a scale of 0-5) was 4.85 among all participants.

In total, 208 medical students across 104 medical schools have participated in the Michigan Urology Academy (MUA) 2-day virtual mentorship program, which was launched in June 2020 and is held annually. The program encompasses sessions on the urology match “hidden curriculum,” defined by the authors as “the implicit, unspoken expectations and rules that many students are not made aware of prior to away rotations, interviews, and the match cycle,” as well as application logistics and how to handle macro- and micro- aggressions.

“Our goal for MUA is to make applying in urology a more transparent process, especially for those without a home urology program. In addition to our virtual MUA, we held our first in-person MUA for 12 students without a home urology program,” said senior author Meidee Goh, MD, in correspondence with Urology Times®. Goh is the assistant chair for DEI and an assistant professor in the department of urology at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Surveys assessing how participants felt about the program’s utility and effectiveness were conducted at 1 week and 3 months following completion of the virtual sessions. Urology match results were also included for fourth year medical students, who comprised 57.2% of the total study population.

Among all participants in the program, 45.7% (n = 95) were male, 52.9% (n = 110) were female, and 0.96% (n = 2) were gender non-conforming. Further, 42.3% (n = 88) identified as African American/Black, 14.9% (n = 31) as Hispanic/LatinX, 12.9% (n = 27) as White, 18.8% (n = 39) as Asian/Indian, 7.7% (n = 16) as Middle Eastern/North African, and 0.5% (n = 1) as Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

All participants who completed the survey at 3 months following the intervention indicated that they would recommend the program to a peer. The average satisfaction with the experience (based on a scale of 0-5) was 4.85 among all participants. Respondents indicated that the program was most helpful for networking with other applicants (44% of respondents), finding a mentor (27%), and serving as an introduction to urology (23%).

Data also showed that fourth year medical students who participated in the MUA program matched into urology at a rate of 80.2%, which is higher than the average American Urological Association match rate of 71.4% (P = .0486). Further, students in the program who identified as URiM matched into urology at a rate of 76.9%.

A thematic analysis of feedback revealed 5 key trends from participants, listed in the study as “1) [a] desire for individual, in-person mentorship and multi-level networking, 2) [an] appreciation of community support and a culture of inclusion, 3) the importance of vulnerability and storytelling to inspire the next generation of urologists, 4) the importance of representation of faculty from backgrounds underrepresented in urology, and 5) the need for increased transparency around application logistics.”1

Goh concluded, “Increasing diversity in the urology work force requires the support of many other programs including R Frank Jones, the UReTER mentorship program, and Urology Unbound. We are grateful to our collaborators and speakers who donate their time and efforts to MUA.”

Reference

1. Zebib L, Irani S, Salami SS, Kraft K, Palapattu G, Goh KM. Michigan Urology Academy–Our role in diversifying the urology workforce. Urology. 2023;S0090-4295(23)00680-5. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2023.07.031

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