Increasing Equity in Medical Student Neurosurgery Education Through Distance Learning

Nathan A. Shlobin*, Ryan E. Radwanski, Mani Ratnesh S. Sandhu, Gail Rosseau, Nader S. Dahdaleh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: Addressing equitable opportunities for medical student (MS) education is important for minimizing disparities in neurosurgical care. However, international MSs, particularly from low- and middle-middle income countries (LMICs) may lack access to educational opportunities compared with their contemporaries in high-income countries. We compare the usefulness of virtual neurosurgery training camps (VNTC) between U.S. and international MSs. Methods: A survey assessing demographics, baseline interests, and ratings of usefulness was sent to attendees after the VNTC. Ratings were compared between international and U.S. MSs. Results: Thirty-three (27.7%) of 119 attendees were international MSs, of whom 24 (72.7%) were from LMICs. International MSs were more likely to hold an advanced degree (P = 0.0009), more likely to be MS3/MS4s (P = 0.0111) or postdoctoral (P < 0.0001), and less likely to be MS1/MS2s (P = 0.0059). After the VNTC, international MSs reported greater increase in interest in neurosurgery in general (P = 0.0009) and subspecialties of spine (P = 0.0002), peripheral nerve (P = 0.002), vascular (P = 0.0468), functional/epilepsy (P = 0.001), pediatric (P = 0.0285), and trauma/neurocritical care (P = 0.0067). International MSs reported greater post-VNTC willingness to pursue a career in neurosurgery (P = 0.0001), likelihood of taking a year off during medical school (P = 0.0363), and preparedness for subinternships (P = 0.0003). International MSs reported greater increases in awareness of burnout (P = 0.0157) and work–life balance in neurosurgery (P = 0.0249). Conclusions: International MSs experience prolonged periods of education before applying to residency and have unmet informational needs. Distance learning is useful for international MSs. MS neurosurgery education, through online platforms, represents a long-term strategy for addressing disparities in neurosurgical care worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-196.e8
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Global neurosurgery
  • Neurosurgery education
  • Online medical student education
  • Virtual medical student education
  • Virtual neurosurgery training camp
  • Webinar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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