To evaluate the effectiveness of Wayne State University School of Medicine’s (WSUSOM’s) 50-year premedical postbaccalaureate program (PBP)—the first and oldest in the United States—in achieving its goals, as measured by medical school matriculation and graduation, primary care specialization, and current practice location.
A retrospective study of a complete comparative dataset of 9,856 WSUSOM MD graduates (1979–2017) was performed in July–August 2018. This included 539 graduates who were admitted to the PBP between 1969 and 2012. Data collected included PBP students’ sociodemographics, postgraduate specialization, residence location at time of admission to the PBP, and current medicine practice location. Health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) and medically underserved areas/populations (MUA/Ps) were determined for residence at admission to the PBP and current medicine practice location.
Of the 539 PBP students, 463/539 (85.9%) successfully completed the PBP and matriculated to WSUSOM. Of those, 401/463 (86.6%) obtained an MD, and of those, 233/401 (58.1%) were female and 277/401 (69.1%) were African American. Average investment per PBP student was approximately $52,000 and for an MD graduate was approximately $77,000. The majority of PBP MD graduates with current practice information resided in HPSAs or MUA/Ps at admission to PBP (204/283, 72.1%) and were currently practicing in HPSAs or MUA/Ps (232/283, 82.0%), and 139/283 (49.1%) became primary care physicians (PCPs). Comparison of WSUSOM PBP and non-PBP MD graduates showed PBP physicians become PCPs and practice in HPSAs or MUA/Ps at higher rates than non-PBP physicians (P < .001).
The PBP was successful in graduating a large proportion of physicians from socioeconomically disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds, who practice as PCPs and who practice in HPSAs and MUA/Ps, thereby accomplishing the PBP’s goals of helping to address the broad health care needs of all people in the United States.