Leadership Training in Undergraduate Medical Education: A Systematic Review





Medical education, Undergraduate, Leadership, Undergrad Medical Education


Background: This review seeks to characterize existing curricular interventions implemented to develop leadership skills in undergraduate medical students at LCME-accredited medical schools and elucidate best practices for leadership curriculum development.

Methods: PRISMA guidelines were used to guide the review. Comprehensive literature searches of five databases retrieved peer-reviewed journal articles with empirical data published in English. Two phases of screening were conducted to identify studies describing leadership development curricular interventions, followed by data extraction and synthesis.

Results: Comprehensive literature searching and hand searching identified 977 articles potentially eligible for inclusion, with a final set of 16 articles selected for the review. A majority of the leadership development programs targeted preclinical students, while others spanned the entire curriculum. "Mixed settings," including both classroom and clinical and community components were common. There was a wide range of cohort sizes spanning from over 100 students to fewer than 10. Using the competencies defined by Mangrulkar et al, we determined that all of the programs described leadership skills development, including conflict management and emotional intelligence. Out of the 16 selected studies, curricula that emphasized the development of skills were evidence-based medicine and practice, and 6 curricula targeted interprofessionalism.

Conclusions: Leadership development needs to be standardized in undergraduate medical education, ideally using a competency-based framework to develop these standards. Longitudinal programs that had a didactic and project-based component received consistently high quality and effectiveness scores, as did programs with smaller cohort sizes that received more consistent mentorship and monetary investment from institutions.


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2023-03-01 — Updated on 2023-03-31

How to Cite

Evans, M. A., James, E. J., & Misa Mi. (2023). Leadership Training in Undergraduate Medical Education: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Medical Students, 11(1), 58–66. https://doi.org/10.5195/ijms.2023.1717