Introduction: There are an increasing number of communities within the United States that have limited or no access to primary healthcare. In recognition, many medical schools now provide opportunities and activities that offer exposure to these demographic areas in order to increase the presence of and community access to medical care and to promote these locations as practice site choices for graduating students. Evaluation of these enhancements has led to doubts whether this exposure timing is optimal in promoting practice in these settings. The purpose of this study is to identify whether early exposure(s) to medically underserved settings prior to medical school is associated with eventual choice of practice location.
Methods: Utilising a cross-sectional design, 450 US Family Medicine residency programmes were surveyed. From these, 775 participants responded to a standardised self-administered questionnaire on indicators associated with medically underserved area (MUA) exposure.
Results: Early MUA exposures combined with medical training experiences in underserved settings have a positive effect on later practice site choice. Identification of these attributes may be useful in considering determinants that impact eventual choice of practice location.