The distribution of services to the underserved. A comparison of minority and majority medical graduates in California

West J Med. 1987 Jan;146(1):114-7.


We assessed the belief that minority physicians are more likely to serve traditionally underserved minority populations by examining the medical practice profiles of minority and majority physicians who graduated from seven California medical schools in 1974 and 1975. The results indicate that minority graduates are more likely to locate their practices in areas with health care personnel shortages (53%) than are majority graduates (26%). Minority physicians had a higher proportion of Medicaid or Medi-Cal patients, and they saw a greater percentage of minority patients (60%) than did majority physicians (21%). We conclude that minority graduates of US medical schools, at least those from California, serve traditionally underserved populations to a greater degree than do their majority graduate colleagues. These findings lend strong support to the contention that aggressive affirmative action programs by medical school admission committees serve the important utility function of improving the distribution of medical services.

MeSH terms

  • California
  • Education, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Minority Groups / education*