National and provincial retention of medical graduates of Memorial University of Newfoundland

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Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) established its medical school in 1967 to meet the growing demand for physicians and alleviate the reliance on other Canadian and international medical schools for physicians. However, it is unclear how many of the graduates remained to practise in Canada and in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). We conducted this study to identify the characteristics and predictors of MUN medical graduates working in Canada and NL after residency training.


We linked data from class lists, and alumni and postgraduate databases with data from the Southam Medical Database to determine 2004 practice locations for MUN graduates from 1973 to 1998. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to identify predictors for working in Canada and in NL.


Of the 1322 MUN graduates in our study, 1147 (86.8%) were working in Canada and 406 (30.7%) in NL in 2004. Predictors of physicians working in Canada included female sex (odds ratio [OR] 1.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01–2.04), being from Canada (OR 3.71, 95% CI 1.15–2.21), graduating in the 1980s (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.02–2.24) and 1990s (OR 2.01, 95% CI 1.31–3.09) and having done some or all residency training at MUN (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.53–9.01). Predictors of physicians working in NL included having a rural background (OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.04–1.81), being from NL (OR 9.23, 95% CI 5.52–15.44) and having done some or all residency training at MUN (OR 5.28, 95% CI 3.80–7.34).


The MUN medical school has made a substantial contribution to the local physician supply, producing over half the physicians working in the province in 2004. Initiatives to increase national and provincial retention of medical graduates include attracting rural students to medical careers, increasing admission of local students and providing incentives for graduates to complete their residency training in the province.

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