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Background: Resource insecurity among medical students is a significant barrier to academic success and well-being. The LHOMe initiative at the Robert Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont, was established in response to this challenge. It aims to support medical students by providing emergency shelter, resources, and mental health services, thereby allowing them to focus on their academic and professional responsibilities. This study assesses the prevalence of resource insecurity among medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluates their awareness of available institutional resources.

Methods: A survey was conducted from May 27, 2020, to May 31, 2023, targeting 480 medical students. It aimed to gather data on students' living conditions, disadvantaged statuses, academic compromises related to resource insecurity, and knowledge of emergency resources provided by the University of Vermont's Larner College of Medicine (UVM LCOM).

Results: The response rate was 63%, with 300 participants completing the survey. The data indicated that 73% of respondents were unfamiliar with local and institutional resources to address resource insecurity, and 84% lacked knowledge of whom to contact for help with these issues. Based on these findings, the medical school took several measures, including reinstating financial support through the CARES Act, establishing a Student Advisory Council, and enhancing financial wellness initiatives.

Conclusion: The findings of this pilot study demonstrate a significant gap in medical students' knowledge and utilization of resources intended to mitigate resource insecurity. The consequences of this insecurity are profound, disproportionately affecting non-traditional and underrepresented student populations and potentially leading to academic underperformance or withdrawal. The interventions developed as a result of this study have laid the groundwork for future efforts to support medical students. This research underscores the necessity for continued evaluation and development of institutional strategies to alleviate resource insecurity and foster the well-being of healthcare professionals in training.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.