Background. Evidence suggests that attendance at medical grand rounds at academic medical centers is waning. The present study examined whether attendance at medical grand rounds increased after providing complimentary food to attendees and also assessed attendee attitudes about complimentary food. Methods. In this prospective, before-and-after study, attendance at medical grand rounds was monitored from September 25, 2002, to June 2, 2004, using head counts. With unrestricted industry (eg, pharmaceutical) financial support, complimentary food was provided to medical grand rounds attendees beginning June 4, 2003. Attendance was compared during the pre-complimentary food and complimentary food periods. Attitudes about the complimentary food were assessed with use of a survey administered to attendees at the conclusion of the study period. Results. The mean (± SD) overall attendance by head counts increased 38.4% from 184.1 ± 90.4 during the pre-complimentary food period to 254.8 ± 60.5 during the complimentary food period (P <.001). At the end of the study period, 70.1% of the attendee survey respondents indicated that they were more likely to attend grand rounds because of complimentary food, 53.6% indicated that their attendance increased as a result of complimentary food, and 53.1% indicated that their attendance would decrease if complimentary food was no longer provided. Notably, 80.3% indicated that food was not a distraction, and 81.7% disagreed that industry representatives had influence over medical grand rounds because of their financial support for the food. Conclusion. Providing free food may be an effective strategy for increasing attendance at medical grand rounds.
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