Background: A Family Day program was implemented at Indiana University School of Medicine to educate the families and friends of in-coming medical students about the rigors of medical school and the factors that contribute to stress. Methods: Surveys that assessed knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes about medical school were administered to participants before and after the program. Results: After the program, participants showed a significant improvement in their understanding of medical school culture and the importance of support systems for medical students. Post-test scores improved by an average of 29% (P < 0.001) in each of the two years this program was administered. Conclusions: The inclusion of family members and other loved ones in pre-matriculation educational programs may serve to mitigate the stress associated with medical school by enhancing the students' social support systems.
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