Introduction While women represent approximately half of all medical students, only 38% of general surgery residents are women. The objective of this study is to explore how access to mentors and organizational support affects career choices. Methods In June of 2016, a survey was sent to medical students at a single institution (n = 472). Questions utilized a 5-point Likert scale. A two-sample t-test was used to evaluate data. Results A total of 160 students participated in the survey. Among MS1/MS2 students, women were more likely to rank same-sex role models as a positive influence (mean 3.1 vs. 2.4; p < 0.05). Similar results were seen among MS3/MS4 students (mean 3.6 vs. 2.5; p < 0.05). More women ranked the presence of organizations that support women in surgery as being important (mean 4.6 vs. 4.1; p < 0.05). Conclusion Exposure to same-sex mentors was highly rated among female participants. These findings encourage the creation of national mentorship programs. Early involvement in organizations can positively influence career choice. Addressing gaps in mentorship opportunities and widening accessibility to national organizations are important in reducing barriers.
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