Fall 2014 – A Medical Student Elective Course in Business and Finance: A Needs Analysis and Pilot

A Medical Student Elective Course in Business and Finance: A Needs Analysis and Pilot.

Author: Joseph B. Meleca1, Maria Tecos1, Abigail L. Wenzlick1, Rebecca Henry2, Patricia A. Brewer3.

Author Affiliations:

1College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, US

2Office of Medical Education, Research and Development, College of Human Medicine, Mighigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

3Office of Preclinical Curriculum, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

[button link=”http://msrj.chm.msu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Fall-2014-Business-Elective.pdf” type=”icon” icon=”download” color=green] Full Text Article PDF[/button]

Corresponding Author: Joseph B. Meleca; melecajo[at]msu.edu

Key Words: curriculum reform; medical business; medical finance; student-led; course; elective; module; student debt.

Abstract: Background:  As the knowledge needed by physicians expands past basic science and patient care, students are calling for their medical school education to do the same. At Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, students addressed this concern by developing a pilot elective, Medical Business and Finance (MBF). The goal of this student-led elective was to provide a basic understanding of personal finance, student debt handling, business management, and insurance reimbursement issues. Methods:  A preliminary needs assessment was conducted to discern if students wanted medical business and finance supplementation to the medical school curriculum.  Ninety percent of students reported interest in a business and finance elective. Once the course was instated, student satisfaction and knowledge-base in medical business and finance was analyzed through pre-elective, pre-session and post-elective survey. Results:  Results were analyzed on forty-eight students’ pre-survey and post-survey responses.  After the course, self-assessed student knowledge regarding finance and business nearly doubled.  The average pre-elective self-assessed knowledge of finance was 3.02 on a ten-point scale and knowledge of business was 2.61. This was compared to an average post-elective self-assessed knowledge of 5.75 and 5.44, respectively. Satisfaction in MSU CHM business and finance resources also slightly increased at the completion of the course.  Nearly 85% of students felt they benefited from participating in the elective.  Similarly, 85% felt that incoming students would also benefit from taking the course. Almost 30% of students believed the material covered in the MBF Elective should be in the required medical school curriculum. Conclusion:  A student led elective can be an effective way to introduce students to an array of topics related to medical business and finance. Students felt that their knowledge of these topics increased and they valued the addition of medical business and finance education to their curriculum. A student-led elective is one potential way for others to successfully incorporate these topics into medical school curricula across the country.

Published on date: September 31, 2014

Senior Editor: Jon Zande

Junior Editor: Ghadear Shukr

DOI: Pending

Citation: Meleca JB, Tecos M, Wenzlick AL, Henry R, Brewer PA. A Medical Student Elective Course in Business and Finance: A Needs Analysis and Pilot. Medical Student Research Journal. 2014;4(Fall):18-23.


  1. Cuckler GA, Sisko AM, Keehan SP, et al. National health expenditure projections, 2012-22: Slow growth until coverage expands and economy Improves.  Health Affairs. 2013; 32: 1820-31. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0721
  2. Asch DA, Nicholson S, Vujicic M. Are we in a medical education bubble market? N Engl J Med. 2013; 369: 1973-1975. doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1310778
  3. Tilburt JC, Cassel CK. Why the ethics of parsimonious medicine is not the ethics of rationing. JAMA. 2013; 309: 773-744. doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.368
  4. Wholey MH, Chapman JE. Business and managerial education in the medical school curriculum. South Med J. 1990; 83(2): 204-6. doi: 10.1097/00007611-199002000-00017
  5. Hsu BS, Hosokawa MC, Maria B. The case for undergraduate medical education in healthcare business and management. J Med Pract Manage. 2007; 22(5): 303-6.
  6. Cawley PJ. Learning the business of medicine. JAMA. 1991; 265(1): 114, 118-9. doi: 10.1001/jama.265.1.114
  7. Liebzeit J, Behler M, Heron S, Santen S. Financial literacy for the graduating medical student. Med Educ. 2011; 45(11): 1145-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2011.04131.x
  8. Morra DJ, Regehr G, Ginsburg S. Anticipated debt and financial stress in medical students. Med Teach. 2008; 30(3): 313. doi: 10.1080/01421590801953000
  9. Youngclaus J, Fresne J. Key Indicator in academic medicine: Education costs and student indebtedness at U.S. medical schools. Acad Med. 2012; 87(2): 242-3. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31824269af
  10. Ross S, Cleland J, Macleod MJ. Stress, Debt and undergraduate medical student performance. Med Educ. 2006; 40(6): 584-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2929.2006.02448.x
  11. Walton JN, Matthew IR, Dumaresq C, Sudmant W. The burden of debt for Canadian dental students: Part 4. The influence of debt on program and career decisions. J Can Dent Assoc. 2006; 72(10): 913.
  12. Grayson, MS, Newton, DA, Thompson LF. Payback time: The associations of debt and income with medical student career choice. Med Educ. 2012; 46(10): 983-91. doi:  10.1111/j.1365-2923.2012.04340.x
  13. Larson DB, Chandler M, Forman HP. MD/MBA Programs in the United States: Evidence of a change in health care leadership. Acad Med. 2003; 78(3): 335-41. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200303000-00021
  14. Sherrill WW. Dual-Degree MD-MBA students: A look at the future of medical leadership. Acad Med. 2000; 75(10 Suppl): S37-9. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200010001-00012
  15. Patel MS, Arora V, Patel MS, Kinney JM, Pauly MV, Asch DA. The role of MD and MBA training in the professional development of a physician: A survey of 30 years of graduates from the Wharton Health Care Management Program. Acad Med. 2014; 89 (9): 1-5. doi: 10.1097/acm.0000000000000366
  16. Lazarus A. Physicians with MBA Degrees: Change agents for healthcare improvement. J Med Pract Manage. 2010; 26(3): 188-90.
  17. Hornick P, Hornick C, Taylor K, Ratnatunga C. Should business management training be part of medical education? Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1997; 79(5 Suppl): 200-1.
  18. Dhaliwal, G. Chou, C. L. A. Brief educational intervention in personal finance for medical residents. J Gen Intern Med. 2007; 22(3): 374-7. doi: 10.1007/s11606-006-0078-z
  19. Patel AT, Bohmer RMJ, Barbour JR, Fried MP. National assessment of business-of-medicine training and its implications for the development of a business-of-medicine curriculum. Laryngoscope. 2005; 115(1): 51-5. doi: 10.1097/01.mlg.0000150677.75978.75
  20. Werblun MN, Martin LR, Drennan MR, Parker CE, Berggren RE. A competency-based curriculum in business practice management. J Fam Pract. 1977; 4(5): 893-7.
  21. Kiesau CD, Heim KA, Parekh SG. Leadership and business education in orthopaedic residency training programs. J Surg Orthop Adv. 2011; 20(2): 117-21.
  22. Iezzoni MA, El-Badri N. The business side of healthcare practice: retooling graduate medical students through medical school curriculum enhancements. J Med Pract Manage. 2012; 28(2): 130-3.
  23. Reznich CB, Anderson WA. A suggested outline for writing curriculum development journal articles: The IDCRD format. Teaching and Learning in Medicine: An International Journal. 2001; 13(1): 4-8. doi: 10.1207/s15328015tlm1301_2