The substantial growth of educational research requests into medical education – and UBC’s innovative expansion and distribution of medical education – has resulted in a steady increase in the number of requests to our medical students and residents to participate in research related to their educational experience.
The Faculty of Medicine of UBC is committed to advancing this area of educational research, as evidenced by the creation of the Centre for Health Education Scholarship (CHES) in April 2008. Moreover, the Faculty of Medicine’s Evaluations Studies Unit conducts regular surveys of students and residents, in keeping with the faculty’s commitment to continuous quality improvement; responding to requests from that unit is considered a professional obligation of medical students and residents.
The increase in independent research requests, however, may cause an untenable burden on students, or may occur at an inappropriate time during their educational program. Students can become confused about whether a survey is part of the Faculty of Medicine’s own program evaluation, an independent survey designed by a department or course leader, or a free-standing educational research project, and they may be uncertain of their obligations and freedoms.
To deal with the growing frequency and complexity of educational research requests and program evaluation studies, the Faculty has established a Research Access Committee (RAC).
The RAC will be comprised of:
- Two Co-Chairs: Executive Associate Dean of Education or delegate and representative from Postgraduate Medical Education.
- One Undergraduate Associate Dean or delegate
- One Postgraduate Program Director or delegate
- One Evaluations Studies Unit Representative
- Two faculty members with educational research request expertise who are not currently in an education leadership position in the Undergraduate or Postgraduate medical education programs (e.g., not a course or clerkship director, associate or assistant dean);
- One undergraduate medical student
- One post graduate (resident) medical student
- An administrative staff member of CHES will be an ad hoc, non-voting member of the committee to facilitate data transfer for the creation and maintenance of the Educational Research Request Tracking Database.
The RAC, which meets monthly as needed, reviews, approves and monitors all the studies before they are presented to the medical students and residents. The RAC provides the forum for discussion and decision-making on the studies to be offered to medical students and residents. The review and approval process should be completed in 30 days or less.
Letter of Intent
The committee will require a Letter of Intent from the investigators, which should include:
• Names of all of the investigators
• A brief description of the purpose of the study, goal objectives, expected outcomes, educational research request methods
• Required number of students/residents, the recruitment process, duration, timing of the study (calendar dates and whether there is any flexibility around timing), funding source (if any)
• Anticipated impact/burden on the participating student or resident relative to the demands of the educational program.
For further details on procedures, please refer to this letter from the RAC.
Considerations, privacy and tracking
Studies that may yield benefits to the current and/or future medical students or residents will be given priority. The committee will ensure that the timing of survey studies does not interfere with the demands of the education program and conflict with educational research request studies already underway.
Students and residents will be made aware of the difference between the professional obligation to participate in the Faculty of Medicine’s own evaluations of its educational program and their right to choose to participate in independent educational research request studies.
For approved studies that involve e-mail contact with students or residents, the information will be disseminated directly to the students/residents from the relevant university officers. Under no circumstances will educational researchers be given direct access to university databases or e-mail addresses.
All approved studies will be entered into an Educational Research Request Tracking Database, to be managed by CHES.