The profiles of angiology and vascular surgery academic leagues and their effectiveness in specialty education

Abstract Background Academic leagues are extracurricular student organizations that are supervised by professors on the faculty of a higher education institution and are dedicated to improving knowledge in certain areas. There has recently been a marked growth in the number of new leagues, giving undergraduate students access to additional information, lectures, internships, and conferences. Angiology and vascular surgery is one of the specialties that have such organizations. Objectives To determine the academic profile of the angiology and vascular surgery academic leagues at medical schools in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, and investigate the academic performance of their members. Methods This is a cross-sectional, descriptive, and analytical study that recruited undergraduate medical students who had joined angiology and vascular surgery academic leagues in the state of São Paulo. On-line questionnaires were used to collect data on each league and the students took examinations to determine their performance. Results Most leagues had an entrance exam for enrollment, with an obligatory introductory course. Monthly theoretical lectures were held by 42.9% of the leagues. Practical activities were provided by 85.7% of the leagues. The majority of the leagues (71.4%) were involved in scientific research. Paired-sample comparison of students’ performance in the exams revealed a significant increase in mean scores, from 61.1 to 72.6 (p < 0.05). Conclusions The angiology and vascular surgery academic leagues in the state of São Paulo all function in a similar manner, but the range of theoretical, practical and scientific activities they offer are not uniform. For the sample investigated, the academic leagues appear to be effective at teaching angiology and vascular surgery during undergraduate courses.