Purpose: The declining physician-scientist number is alarming. Therefore, this study is designed to establish early exposure to undergraduate research interest in science careers and generates physician-scientist workforces.
Materials and methods: In this paper, we report the experience and student’s perceptions of an innovative summer research program and examine how it could influence students’ interest in research careers.
Results: During the summer of 2012, fourteen undergraduate medical students from Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, attended a month-long summer biomedical research program at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Temple, Texas, USA. The program was designed to expose students to four domains: 1) an intensive basic science research experience, 2) extraordinary aspects of clinical medicine, 3) collaborative research projects, and 4) social entertaining activities. At the end of the program, a self-administered questionnaire was used to explore participants’ experiences and evaluate the program. Majority of students reported various research skills and knowledge gains, personal and professional gains, negative insights about research and clarifications of a research career. Moreover, majority were satisfied with the overall summer program and recommended it to others.
Conclusion: Participation in such scholarly programs enhances research intellectual and practical skills, supports participation in future research activities and increases interest to pursue physician-scientist careers.