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The more cooks in the kitchen the better the sauce? Impact of an abortion VCAT workshop on medical students

Purpose: We evaluated the impact of a values clarification and attitude transformation (VCAT) workshop on medical students’ attitudes and behavioral intentions regarding abortion.


Background: Abortion VCAT workshops are used to help individuals analyze their beliefs about abortion access and care. There is limited research about the efficacy of VCAT workshops and no data on how they impact medical students.


Methods: We conducted a virtual adaptation of the “Four-Corners” VCAT workshop with third-year medical students at three midwestern medical schools from January through July 2021. We assessed students’ abortion-related attitudes and behavioral intentions using a pre-post online survey. We created summative scores for both attitudes and intentions. We used paired t-tests to evaluate for significant differences (p< 0.05).


Results: We had 274 students participate and 156 completed both surveys (57%). Students’ attitude scores were more positive toward abortion post-workshop (83.5 vs 84.5; p=0.012). There was no change in mean behavioral intentions scores (p = 0.386). The largest gain was seen for students who started in the most negative quartile for attitudes and behavioral intentions; mean attitudes score increased from 63.1 to 65.9 (p=0.011) and behavioral intentions changed from 26.6 to 38.3 (p=0.009). The survey statement, “All patients should have access to safe, comprehensive abortion care in the second trimester,” saw the biggest change with students more likely to agree with the statement post-workshop (p=0.0002) [0.387-0.124].


Discussions: We demonstrate that students have more positive attitudes towards abortion after participating in a VCAT workshop, and the students most impacted are those who start with the most negative views.

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2022, Student, Faculty, Clerkship Director, Clerkship Coordinator, Medical Knowledge, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, UME, Team-Based Learning, Contraception or Family Planning,

General Information

Student,Faculty,Clerkship Director,Clerkship Coordinator,
Medical Knowledge,Interpersonal & Communication Skills,
Team-Based Learning,
Clinical Focus
Contraception or Family Planning,

Author Information

Elise S. Cowley, BS, University of Wisconsin - Madison; Jessika A. Ralph, MD, MSCI; Jessie C. Chen, MD; Allison Linton, MD, MPH; Sarah Hutto, MD, MPH; Laura Jacques, MD

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