The "away" dermatology elective for visiting medical students: Educational opportunities and barriers

Rebecca C. Philips, Navin Dhingra, Tatsuo Uchida, Richard F. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Dermatology electives allow medical students an opportunity to explore the field of dermatology. In order to gain greater exposure to the specialty of dermatology, some medical students have an interest in taking "away" dermatology electives at other U.S. medical schools. A telephone survey was conducted to better understand the opportunities and barriers that exist for visiting medical students to take an elective in dermatology. Areas of focus in the survey included dermatology elective offerings, institutional policies toward visiting students, academic requirements for visiting students, timing of electives, financial costs of electives incurred by the student and institutional and regional preferences of the host medical school. Survey results indicated considerable opportunities for medical students to explore the field of dermatology among U.S. medical schools, but variance among schools regarding the number and types of dermatology electives offered. Medical schools with dermatology residencies were statistically more likely to offer dermatology electives to visiting medical students than those that did not (p<0.0001). Students from schools that do not provide more advanced electives may find it difficult to explore the field beyond a general dermatology elective because of the limited availability of subspecialty elective rotations for visiting students. Other barriers for "away" electives include academic requirements, priority in course registration for a school's own students, differing rotation schedules, and additional financial costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalDermatology online journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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