Impact of Near-Peer Education in a Student-Run Free Ophthalmology Clinic on Medical Student Teaching Skills

Nitin Chopra, Davis B. Zhou, Robert Fallar, Nisha Chadha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the impact of near-peer teaching experiences in the ophthalmology branch of the East Harlem Health Outreach Program (EHHOP), a student-run clinic, on teaching skills of fourth-year medical student Teaching Seniors (TS). Design: Mixed-methods observational study, including online survey and telephone interview. Setting: Student-run ophthalmology clinic affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Mount Sinai Hospital, a tertiary-care center in New York, NY. Participants: All EHHOP TS alumni from 2014 to 2019 were eligible for inclusion in our study. All 14 alumni participated in the survey, and 8 participated in the follow-up interview. Methods: EHHOP ophthalmology TS alumni were surveyed via an online survey and subsequent, optional, individual telephone interview. The web survey queried former TS on the impact of EHHOP ophthalmology experiences on self-reported teaching skills and comfort with teaching. Quantitative analysis of survey questions and qualitative analysis of telephone responses was performed and analyzed for themes. Results: Majority of participants reported increased comfort teaching ophthalmology concepts, teaching the slit-lamp exam, and serving as mentors as a result of their experience. Qualitative analysis of telephone interviews revealed 4 major themes: (1) TS were a self-selected group of individuals with prior interest in teaching, (2) Teaching experiences in EHHOP had a positive impact in many teaching-related domains, (3) TS perceptions of teaching skills gained did not necessarily align with junior students’ perceptions of teaching received, and (4) despite increased confidence and satisfaction with teaching experiences, TS desired more formal instruction in teaching. Conclusions: While TS perceptions of teaching skills gained in EHHOP ophthalmology were overwhelmingly positive, TS still desired formal instruction in teaching. Additionally, the effectiveness of near-peer education in a subspecialty like ophthalmology, with limited formal curricular time, may be more effective later in training, when a more solid foundation of knowledge is acquired.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1503-1510
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Medical student education
  • Near-peer education
  • Near-peer teaching
  • Professionalism
  • Resident curriculum
  • Students-as-teachers
  • Undergraduate ophthalmology education


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