Purpose: In 2006, the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM) launched the Underserved Pathway (UP), an extracurricular longitudinal experience supporting student interest in caring for underserved populations. This study examined the association between UP participation and residency choice.
Method: The study population was 663 UWSOM graduates who matched to a residency from 2008 to 2011; 69 were UP participants. Outcomes included matching to primary care residencies (family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, or medicine–pediatrics). The authors calculated graduate rates and odds of UP participants versus nonparticipants matching to primary care residencies overall and to residencies in individual primary care specialties. This analysis included all graduates and 513 graduates who had dual interest in primary care and underserved care at matriculation. Of 336 graduates matching to primary care, the authors calculated rates of entering the individual specialties with respect to UP participation.
Results: UP participants matched at significantly higher rates than nonparticipants to primary care (72.5% versus 48.1%, adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.2) and family medicine residencies (33.3% versus 15.0%, adjusted OR 2.9). Of graduates with dual matriculation interest in primary care and underserved care, 73.4% of participants versus 53.5% of nonparticipants matched to primary care (adjusted OR 1.9), and 31.2% of participants versus 18.0% of nonparticipants matched to family medicine (adjusted OR 2.1). Of primary care matched graduates, 46.0% of participants versus 31.1% of nonparticipants entered family medicine.
Conclusions: Supporting student interest in underserved careers is associated with higher rates of graduates entering primary care residencies, specifically family medicine.