Springer Nature

The Danish-American Research Exchange (DARE): a cross-sectional study of a binational research education program

Posted on 2023-04-13 - 10:38
Abstract Background Most medical educational programs emphasize clinical observation or clinical skill acquisition, fewer focus upon research. The Danish-American Research Exchange (DARE) program, sponsored by the Lundbeck Foundation, is unique in that the medical student initiates biomedical research collaboration between Danish and US medical institutions. To achieve this, Danish medical students (DARE students) conduct binational mentored research projects while based in the United States for 10 months. In addition, DARE students are introduced to interdisciplinary thinking about how to develop ultra-low-cost healthcare interventions through the ‘$10 Challenge’. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study of DARE alumni over five consecutive years (2015–2020, n = 24). Research metrics included completion of a research project, primary authorship, and co-authorship of publications. The number of publications, prior to and after the DARE program were enumerated. For the first four cohorts, graduation from medical school and acceptance or intention to enter a joint MD-PhD program also were assessed. Two focus groups were conducted using constructivist grounded theory. Discussions were transcribed, redacted, and coded using Dedoose software. Results DARE Medical students were 31.2 years (range 24–35), the majority were women (67%;16/24). The majority (17/24;71%) completed a first author publication in a peer-reviewed journal with a median of 3.9 per DARE alumnus. DARE alumnus reported increased proficiency in biostatistics, epidemiology, coding and public speaking as well as stronger research qualities in creativity, critical thinking, comfort in approaching scientist in both the US and Denmark (p < 0.001 for all). Qualitative key themes included: increased confidence, a deepening of research inquiry and linkage to a research network. Conclusions Preliminarily, this study suggests that medical students can initiate binational collaboration in medicine. Benefits include research productivity, intention to pursue academic medical careers, as well as positive impacts on motivation. This medical student-initiated research model lays the groundwork for using this model across other country pairs to promote binational collaboration.


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