Purpose: To determine whether underrepresented minority (URM) students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds were more likely to apply to a combined MD–master’s degree program designed to train physician leaders in providing care to underserved communities.
Method: University of California, San Diego (UCSD), School of Medicine applications from the 2008–2010 incoming classes were analyzed. American Medical College Application Service and UCSD secondary application data were used to build a logistic regression model to determine which characteristics were most associated with applying to the MD–master’s degree Program in Medical Education–Health Equity (PRIME-HEq).
Results: Of the total UCSD applications reviewed from disadvantaged students, 61.5% also applied to PRIME-HEq (319/519) compared with 23.5% of nondisadvantaged students (917/3,895, χ2 = 326.665, P < .001). Of URM student applications, 55.6% also applied to PRIME-HEq (358/644) compared with 23.3% of non-URM students (878/3,770, χ2 = 284.654, P < .001). Results of a backward stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that disadvantagedstatus was the greatest predictor of applying to PRIME-HEq (odds ratio = 3.15; 95%confidence interval = 2.50–3.966; P< .001).
Conclusions: URM students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds were more likely to be interested in a curriculum designed to train them to work with underserved communities. These results suggest that PRIME-HEq, or similarly focused programs, may influence URM and disadvantaged students’ application decisions.