Admitting community college students to med school can increase and diversify workforce
With both a growing demand for primary care physicians and declining medical student interest in the field, a new study offers a possible pathway to meeting the United States' primary care workforce needs.
The study of US medical school graduates from 2010 to 2012 finds that graduates who attended community college as pre-medical students are more likely to train in family medicine than those who attended other institutions. Specifically, among 43,382 medical school graduates, 3,787 (9 percent) trained in family medicine and, of those, 1,298 (34 percent) attended community college.
According to logistic regression analysis models, community college attendees were more likely to train in family medicine compared to all other specialties.
In addition, sensitivity analysis revealed that community college attendance was not significantly associated with training in internal medicine, pediatrics, and combined internal medicine/pediatrics.
Within the family medicine residency workforce, 51 percent of Latinos, 35 percent of Asians, 33 percent of whites, and 32 percent of African Americans/blacks, as well as 42 percent of first generation college students, attended community college.
Nurturing early interest in family medicine during high school and community college may be one strategy to increase the supply and diversity of the United States' primary care physician workforce, the authors explain.
They call for longitudinal research that follows high school, community college, and four-year university students to better understand the experiences and programs that influence their career decisions.