The IJMS World Conference of Medical Student Research and an Overview of the IJMS Volume 10 Issue 2

Adnan Mujanovic1, Vincent Kipkorir2, Cesare Mercalli3, Arkadeep Dhali4, Purva Shah5, Camila Velandia6, Ciara Egan7, Mihnea-Alexandru Găman8, Juan C. Puyana9, Francisco J. Bonilla-Escobar10

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5195/ijms.2022.1580

Volume 10, Number 2: 115-118

Medical education depends on the foundation of scientific evidence in order to ensure the provision of the best, most up-to-date, training. Expectedly, physicians with a scientific background continually remain vital to the advancement of medicine.1 Therefore, the inculturation of research in physicians at their initial formative stages, can significantly bridge the gap between research and clinical practice.2 A recent survey among medical students found an overall poor scientific grasp but positive attitudes towards research. Some barriers identified in this survey included time-consuming school tasks and a lack of proper support for conducting studies.3 Consequently, the observed positive attitude towards research holds little significance without an appropriate training system or platform where medical students can engage actively in research.

The International Journal of Medical Students (IJMS) has existed uninterrupted for more than a decade with its primary aim to serve as the main research-driven global facilitator for early-career scientists in medicine. This expands beyond the scope of manuscript publication to the empowerment of medical students in research while also providing a platform for them to display their work.4

Keeping alive the spirit of promoting medical student research worldwide, the IJMS has decided to organize the first IJMS World Conference of Medical Student Research that will be held online on November 12th, 2022. Here, medical students and recent graduates (up to 3 years after graduation) can present their scientific work in front of an international audience.

The conference organizing committee strongly believes in the importance of medical students and recently graduated physicians in medical research. With the Conference, the IJMS aims to provide opportunities to increase the visibility of early-career researchers through peer evaluation of their work.4

The primary target audience of the conference is medical students and early-career scientists. To pursue inclusivity, there will not be a specific conference topic. Instead, participants from all research areas are invited to submit their abstracts and showcase their work to a global and diverse audience.5 A panel of experienced peer-reviewers will review all the abstracts and timely notify applicants of the result of their submission. Authors of accepted abstracts will have the opportunity to present their work in the form of an oral presentation, which will be evaluated by an international panel of judges. All accepted conference abstracts will be featured in the 2022 Supplement of IJMS and different awards will be distributed among the participants (i.e., top 10, most voted presentation, etc.).

As medical students gather together and share their research experiences, the hope is that there will be increased engagement in research among early-career scientists and a new step towards the global empowerment of medical students with research skills and competence. To the best of our knowledge, no medical student international research conferences are organized and run by a student-led international medical journal; the upcoming conference aims to change that narrative.

Important details for authors:

Funds from the conference will cover the Journal's running costs and help maintain our free open-access policies.

Shifting gears to the current second Issue publication in our historic tenth-year anniversary Volume, we have 14 articles including 7 original research articles, 1 short communication, 3 reviews, and 3 experience reports. The topics range from the COVID-19 aftermath and emerging mental health conditions to medical student perspectives regarding different topics of their medical training.

Post-COVID-19 pandemic

Even though in most countries, the peak of COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, it had unprecedented consequences on the entire globe, and we are still dealing with its aftermath. Yousef and Khandalavala reported one such instance in their investigation of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on medical students' diet quality at one medical college in the United States of America.6 Overall, during the early days of the pandemic, there was an overall reported decrease in diet quality and a higher-than-normal BMI, which could have potential long-term effects.

In addition to its deteriorating effects on physical health, the COVID-19 pandemic also caused psychological instability resulting in higher burnout rates and emotional exhaustion in medical students in Monterrey in Mexico. One study group suggested that medical schools should promote easily accessible mental health programs for their students to curb this problem.7 Using the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Student Survey, authors reported burnout rates of 15% and emotional exhaustion in more than half (53%) of their study participants, with male students being four-times more likely to develop it when compared to their female colleagues. Authors suggest that medical faculties should promote easily accessible mental health programs for their students.

One review addressed the possible relation between multiple sclerosis (MS) relapse and COVID-19.8 MS patients are a vulnerable population for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), given the natural history of MS. This review sums findings of seven original studies and highlights the effects of COVID-19 on the blood-brain barrier and how this interaction reflects the exacerbation of MS. Interestingly, there have even been reports on increased rates of MS in previously healthy patients during this period.

Mental Health

Mental health is often stigmatized when compared to its physical counterpart. Addictive diseases, with their severe impact on mental health, are no exception to this rule. Fusillo from the United States shares his experience as a third-year medical student and showcases how his personal experience and thoughts on mental health changed during his inpatient psychiatric rotation.10

Another rising problem in the mental health sphere is the internet gaming disorders (IGD). This can be predominantly ascribed to increased access to technology availability among adolescents, but the circumstances created by the pandemic and lockdowns could have increased its prevalence. A cross-sectional study covering four schools in the Colombo Educational Zone in Sri Lanka assessed gaming habits among 412 students.11 They found high a prevalence of IGD in their study group and were more frequently associated with low involvement in extracurricular activities and poor family relationships. The wave of IGD after the pandemic should be included in medical education efforts.

When talking about mental health, it is essential to mention empathy in patient contact. During the course of students' academic advancement, there is a recurring trend of emphasizing clinical and practical skills while empathy and social skills tend to be left behind. A multi-center study encompassing 304 students from 12 medical schools in the United Kingdom reported that almost half of the respondents (45.7%) had never heard of the human factor as an important aspect of evaluating fitness to practice.12 Respondents agreed that learning the value of the human factor should occur early on in their education. Authors suggest that new strategies are needed to ensure that future medical providers are equipped with the necessary social and human skills to help them deliver a safer, patient-oriented, care.

Medical Students and Education

Health disparities are present among many underrepresented populations. One of them is the Globally, Neurodivergent, Disability, and Chronic Illness (NDCI) populations.9 A group from the University of California performed a cross-sectional study on medical students' perceptions, knowledge, and competence regarding NDCI. One in ten participants reported that their medical school included the NDCI population in their curriculum, but also that most of their knowledge on this cohort comes from their personal experience and media outlets and not from academical setting. Even though this was a single-institution study, the authors commented on alarmingly low knowledge and awareness rates of NDCI. They suggested that informed efforts should be undertaken to tackle disparities in the knowledge of future physicians regarding NDCI.9

The journey into the medical career often starts with the preparations for admission into medical school. As this is an important step, it is also quite stressful, but stress levels vary between future medical students in different countries, as admission criteria are different. Prospective students from different medical schools in Australia and the United States share their joint experiences on this topic and provide a comparative overview.13 This study reports the biggest differences in admission exam criteria and applicants' profiles (e.g., high school vs. college students).

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is one example of an admission test used in the United States and parts of Canada. Liu et al. investigated the stress levels of those from the Underrepresented in Medicine (URM) backgrounds who were taking the MCAT.14 Through their near-peer coaching program, this single-institution study has found decreased anxiety levels in URM students after several coaching sessions, concluding that these types of interventions are warranted and well-received among URM students.

Aside from different educational system models, it is also important for medical students to stay up to date with administrative changes in the healthcare system. Value-Based-Health-Care (VBHC) model will soon be implemented in Brazil, and Hirt et al evaluated VBHC model awareness among Brazilian medical students.15 This cross-sectional study collected 3030 responses across 148 medical schools in Brazil and reported a low number of students who understood the VBHC concept. The authors suggested that medical schools use their resources to prepare future physicians for working in the VBHC model, as it will help their everyday practice and increase patient management.

As medical students move towards the end of their medical school journey, they face many uncertainties, one of them being their final clinical year. Most medical students would prefer to spend their final clinical year in a tertiary-level university hospital, which offers a wider array of residency and fellowship options. But what happens when students have to do their final year in a secondary level or small rural hospital? Delgado Sanchez sheds light on this subject and reflects on his personal experience in this journey.16

Future Perspectives

Srinivas et al presented a current literature summary on the use of animal models in the endovascular treatment of ascending aortic dissection.17 An overview of twenty-three published papers revealed that porcine and ovine species are the most suitable animal models for the examination of endovascular stent-graft feasibility. Increasing rates of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) infections have provided ideal conditions for this opportunistic pathogen to develop antibiotic resistance.18 Recently reported additional resistance to linezolid has resulted in urgent appeals from the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control in antimicrobial therapy management. The current state of evidence reviewed by Beale and Durward-Diioia proposed a multifactorial approach to dealing with VRE, including preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic measures.

Lastly, with summer around the corner, it is important to be aware of conditions associated with increasing temperatures, such as heat strokes. Alebaji et al. assessed awareness levels of heat stroke among residents of the United Arab Emirates with an original questionnaire.19 A third of the total sample size of 402 participants did not think that severe heat stroke might lead to fatal outcomes. Males and older participants were also less likely to know what a heat stroke is. Authors proposed that governmental institutions should implement adequate informative measures for the general population, especially in regions/areas where heat strokes occur more often. The 2022 FIFA world cup to be held in Qatar is around the corner. The country is under scrutiny due to recent concern for under-reporting deaths caused by the high temperatures reaching over 50° Celsius (120° Fahrenheit), especially in vulnerable populations such as migrant workers.20

Finally, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are core values of healthcare research and practice. However, inequities remain attached to healthcare provision, research, journal editorial teams, and publication practices. In an effort to tackle this issue, the IJMS has aimed to have an inclusive editorial process and an editorial team that includes a global population of students and researchers. The Journal has taken a step toward an equitable environment by publishing a policy statement on DEI.5 We recognize the complexity of implementing comprehensive DEI practices, but we are committed to its continuous development based on iterative processes and clear internal and publicly available regulations (https://ijms.info/IJMS/Diversity_statement).21

Conflict of Interest Statement & Funding

The Authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. Dr. Juan C. Puyana work is partially funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) of the United States with the grant 5UG3HL151595. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the United States government.


1. Moraes D, Jotz M, Menegazzo W, Menegazzo M, Veloso S, Christ Machry M, et al. Interest In research among medical students: Challenges for the undergraduate education. Rev Assoc Médica Bras. 2016;62:652–8.

2. Mallonee S, Fowler C, Istre GR. Bridging the gap between research and practice: a continuing challenge. Inj Prev. 2006;12(6):357–9.

3. Assar A, Matar SG, Hasabo EA, Elsayed SM, Zaazouee MS, Hamdallah A, et al. Knowledge, attitudes, practices and perceived barriers towards research in undergraduate medical students of six Arab countries. BMC Med Educ. 2022;22(1):44–55.

4. Liblik K, Garcia-Espinosa P, Nahian A, Chatterjee S, Găman MA, Egan C, et al. Medical Student Research Journals: The International Journal of Medical Students (IJMS) Legacy. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(1):9–14.

5. Manan MR, Liblik K, Barrera FJ, Egan C, Puyana JC, Bonilla-Escobar FJ. Thinking Globally in the Pursuit of Individual Identity: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the International Journal of Medical Students (IJMS). Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):112–4.

6. Yousef, M. Khandalavala, B. The Diet Quality of Medical Students in the United States during the Early COVID-19 Pandemic. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):158–64.

7. Jezzini-Martinez S, Martinez-Garza JH, Quiroga-Garza A, Zrate-Garza PP, Jacob-Baca G, Gutierrez-De la O J, et al. Burnout Among First-Year Medical Students During COVID-19 Pandemic in Mexico: A Cross-sectional Study. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):180–4.

8. Topolski M, Soti V. Effects of COVID-19 on Multiple Sclerosis Relapse: A Comprehensive Review. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):192–201.

9. Hotez E, Ayoub A, Rava J, Jawadi Z, Rosenau KA, Taiclet L, et al. Medical Students' Perceptions, Knowledge, and Competence in Treating Neurodivergent, Disability, and Chronic Illness (NDCI) Populations: Results from a Cross-Sectional Study, Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):148–57.

10. Fusillo TF. Mental Illness and Addiction: Lessons from the County Hospital Inpatient Psychiatric Ward. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):210–1.

11. Manchanayake MM, Malsirini TGM, Vithanage AM, Jayawardene D. Prevalence and Correlates of Internet Gaming Disorder Among an Advanced Level Student Population from Colombo, Sri Lanka. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):165–74.

12. Conroy, M. Chilaka, J. Colucci, G. The Education of Medical Students in Human Factors – A National Survey. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):119–28.

13. Ding JB, Xialo XL, Merhavy ZI, Fahim D, Merhavy CE, Varkey TC. A Comparison of Australian and American Medical School Admission Experiences. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):212–14.

14. Liu B, Hodge A, Jushka C, Hueston WJ. A Pilot Study of Reducing Test anxiety in a Cohort of Underrepresented in Medicine MCAT Students Using Near-Peer Coaching. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):139–47.

15. Hirt G, Gushken F, Gomes da Silva GB, Heringer DL, Gomes de Mello LC, Malheiro DT, Makdisse M. Medical Students' Awareness About Value-Based Health Care in Brazil: A Cross Sectional Study. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):129–38.

16. Delgado Sanchez JD. Experience of a Medical Intern in a Secondary Healthcare Hospital in Mexico. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):215–7.

17. Srinivas A, Yii M, Smith J. Comparative Review of Large Animal Models for Suitability of Proximal Aortic Endovascular Repair. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):185–91.

18. Beale, JW. Durward-Diioia M. Clinical Considerations in the Approach to Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci: A Narrative Review. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):202–9.

19. Alebaji MB, Elzini TH, Shahin HBA, Suleiman ABM, Richard H, Dali RIA. Knowledge, Prevention, and Practice of Heat Strokes Among the Public in the United Arab Emirates. Int J Med Stud. 2022;10(2):175–9.

20. BBC News. Middle East. Life at 50C: Qatar accused of under-reporting deaths in Gulf's killer heat. Available from: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-middle-east-61711468. Last updated Jun 9, 2022; cited: Jun 22, 2022.

21. IJMS Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement. Available from: https://ijms.info/IJMS/Diversity_statement. Last updated: Mar 1, 2022; cited: Jun 22, 2022.

Adnan Mujanovic, 1 MD, PhD student. Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology, University Hospital Bern Inselspital, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland. Associate Editor, IJMS.

Vincent Kipkorir, 2 BSc(H). University of Nairobi, College of Health Sciences, Department of Human Anatomy and Physiology, Nairobi, Kenya. Associate Editor, IJMS.

Cesare Mercalli, 3 Fifth year Medical Student. Humanitas Research Hospital, Milan, Italy. Layout Editor & Director of the first IJMS World Conference of Medical Student Research, IJMS.

Arkadeep Dhali, 4 MBBS; Department of GI Surgery, Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, India. Student Editor, IJMS.

Purva Shah, 5 MBBS. Research Associate, Medical College, Baroda, India. Student Editor, IJMS.

Camila Velandia, 6 Fifth year Medical Student, Grupo de investigación ACEMED-UPTC. Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia - UPTC. Tunja, Colombia. Logistics WCMSR, IJMS.

Ciara Egan, 7 Medical Student. Humanitas University, Humanitas Research Hospital, Milan, Italy. Deputy Editor, IJMS.

Mihnea-Alexandru Găman, 8 MD, PhD student. Faculty of Medicine, “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 050474 Bucharest, Romania & Department of Hematology, Center of Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Fundeni Clinical Institute, 022328 Bucharest, Romania. Scientific Editor, IJMS.

Juan C. Puyana, 9 MD, FRCSC, FACS, FACCP. School of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Professor of Surgery, Critical Care Medicine, and Clinical Translational Science, Director for Global Health-Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States. Editorial Board Member, IJMS.

Francisco J. Bonilla-Escobar, 10 MD, MSc, PhD(c). Researcher, Department of Ophthalmology; Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE), University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States. CEO, Fundación Somos Ciencia al Servicio de la Comunidad, Fundación SCISCO/Science to Serve the Community Foundation, SCISCO Foundation, Cali, Colombia. Grupo de investigación en Visión y Salud Ocular, VISOC, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia. Editor in Chief, IJMS.

Correspondence: Francisco J. Bonilla-Escobar, Address: 1400 Locust Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, UPMC Mercy Hospital - Eye Center, USA. Email: conference@ijms.info

Cite as: Mujanovic A, Kipkorir V, Mercalli C, Dhali A, Shah P, Velandia C, et al. The IJMS World Conference of Medical Student Research and an Overview of the IJMS Volume 10 Issue 2. Int J Med Stud. 2022 Apr-Jun;10(2):115-8.

Copyright © 2022 Adnan Mujanovic, Vincent Kipkorir, Cesare Mercalli, Arkadeep Dhali, Purva Shah, Camila Velandia, Ciara Egan, Mihnea-Alexandru Găman, Juan C. Puyana, Francisco J. Bonilla-Escobar

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Medical Students, VOLUME 10, NUMBER 2, June 2022