C-Change Medical Student Survey

An instrument measuring dimensions of the existing culture in order to address the professional and personal development of students in academic medical centers.

Development of the C-Change Surveys

The National Initiative on Gender, Culture and Leadership in Medicine, known as C-Change (for culture change) and housed at Brandeis University, is dedicated to improving the culture of academic medicine through research and action. Our objective is to promote an inclusive, affirming, relational and energizing working environment for all medical school faculty and trainees, at the same time increasing the diversity of leadership in academic medicine.

In an initial phase, C-Change has conducted in-depth interviews with male and female faculty in five academic medical centers to document the culture and issues affecting faculty productivity and well-being. Those qualitative interview data served as basis for the construction of an extensive quantitative survey instrument, the C-Change Faculty Survey,© which systematically explores and documents the experiences of medical school faculty and the organizational culture in their academic medical centers. The faculty survey was later adapted for medical students to measure their perceptions of their learning environment and professionalism, and offers insights into the "hidden curriculum."

The C-Change Medical Student Survey is available for use by academic medical centers wishing to assess and improve their culture and existing practices in order to create a more academically productive, inclusive, diverse and humanistic environment where all people can thrive. The surveys allow detailed exploration of the foundations of the development of human capital, (e.g., trust, relationships, perception of opportunity, professionalism and the learning environment) as well as the waste of such human capital. When used in parallel, the student and faculty surveys provide credible and powerful tools for improvements. Survey findings can address accreditation requirements.

Content of the C-Change Medical Student Survey

The C-Change Medical Student Survey© assesses the learning environment and the development of professionalism among medical students. It consists of 51 questions that assess relationships, trust, feelings of being valued and belonging, ethical issues, gender and diversity equity, perception of their school's support for career development and other constructs related to the professional development of students.

Administration of the C-Change Survey

The C-Change Medical Student Survey© is fielded electronically, or if preferred, it can be fielded in-house and/or in paper and pencil format, and takes about 10 minutes to complete. The survey is hosted on a secure external website and administered by the C-Change team at Brandeis University to ensure confidentiality of responses and help achieve a high response rate. Data are provided to schools in aggregate form to protect the anonymity of respondents.

C-Change works closely with medical schools to understand any unique needs they might have in survey adaptation or fielding, and administers the Survey. C-Change works in collaboration with each institution to develop a strong communications plan to enable a high response rate. Depending on the size and analytic needs of the institution, C-Change can recommend and develop a sampling plan or field the Survey to the full census of the students as appropriate.

Analysis and Reporting of Study Findings

C-Change creates the scales representing dimensions of the culture and other analytic variables of interest, and prepares data tables with frequencies for all survey variables.

Fee Structure

Pricing of the C-Change Student Survey depends on study specifics, such as the size of the study population, analysis of sub-populations or customized benchmarking.

Customization for Different Populations

The survey can be adapted for students in other health care disciplines.

Data – Action Cycles

Assisting institutions to collect and use their survey data effectively and constructively are central elements of the services provided with the C-Change survey. C-Change offers consultation on implementing data-action cycles, i.e., change activities that are appropriate and responsive to survey findings.


  • Pololi LH, Evans AT, Nickell L, Reboli AC, Coplit LD, Stuber ML, Vasiliou V, Civian JT, Brennan RT. Assessing the learning environment for medical students: An evaluation of a novel survey instrument in four medical schools. Academic Psychiatry. 2017;41:354-359.