More primary care physicians are needed in underserved areas of the United States. Prior research indicates that medical student experiences in underserved settings increase the likelihood that they will practice in underserved areas; few studies have controlled for selection bias. This study aimed to estimate the effect of the University of Washington School of Medicine’s (UWSOM’s) longitudinal extracurricular experience, the Underserved Pathway (UP), on graduates’ choice in entering a family medicine residency with underserved training opportunities.Method
The American Medical College Application Service application that all students submit to apply to UWSOM and a matriculation survey were used to collect demographic information for medical school graduates who subsequently entered family medicine residencies between 2010 and 2015. A given family medicine residency offered underserved training if it had a clinic or rotation at a federally qualified health center or if the admitting hospital was a critical access hospital. Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate the UP program’s effect on graduates entering an underserved family medicine residency, adjusting for 26 covariates.Results
Participants were 158 UWSOM graduates; 39 (25%) completed the UP program. UP completion was associated with a 3.58 odds ratio increase to matching to an underserved family medicine residency, compared with non-UP graduates.Conclusions
Completion of the UP was linked to a significant increase in program graduates matching to an underserved family medicine residency. Longitudinal extracurricular programs similar to the UP could be an important component in the pipeline to meeting the primary care needs of underserved populations.