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Medical Student Demographics and Attitudes as Predictors for Future Rural Practice

Smith, Jordan (2013) Medical Student Demographics and Attitudes as Predictors for Future Rural Practice. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Introduction: American medical schools are struggling to identify students who would consider a career in rural health. The deficiency of healthcare professionals in rural locations is widespread across the U.S., and it is projected that the shortage will worsen at the current rate which students are going into rural practice. The lack of easy access to health care for rural residents is of public health significance. The purpose of this study was to examine changes in medical student interests and attitudes relating to rural location and its needed specialists medical students over time, as well as identifying which demographic information, interests, and attitudes that significantly predict interest in future rural practice.
Methods: The study participants were first and second year medical students at an allopathic medical school in the U.S. who were enrolled in an introductory clinical skills course. We sought to identify differences in survey responses between first-year and second-year medical students at the beginning and end of Academic Year 2010 on items relating to work setting, motivations for pursuing a medical career or specialty, interest in underserved populations, and attitudes toward primary care. Principle components analysis was used to extract linear composite variables (LCV) from responses to each group of questions; ordinary least squares (OLS) regression was then used to identify potential demographic and attitudinal predictors for future rural practice.
Results: Interest in rural health and its needed specialties significantly declined over the pre-clinical years. Rural background, interest in generalist specialties, and idealistic motivations were consistent positive predictors for future rural practice. Marital status and being female were also found to positively predict interest in rural practice, while being in the second year of medical school was found to decrease interest in future rural practice. Importance of money, prestige, and lifestyle in choice of career was found to negatively impact the likelihood of rural practice.
Conclusion: The results support previous research suggesting rural background, interest in generalist specialties, and idealistic motivations are positive predictors for future rural practice. Female gender and white race were inconsistent in their significance as predictors, and should be studied further.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Smith, Jordanjas403@pitt.eduJAS403
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorBuchanich, Jeanine Mjeanine@pitt.eduJEANINE
Committee MemberMorton, Sallyscmorton@pitt.eduSCMORTON
Committee MemberMorley,
Committee MemberTalbott, Evelyn O.eot1@pitt.eduEOT1
Date: 27 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 9 April 2013
Approval Date: 27 June 2013
Submission Date: 18 April 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 102
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Biostatistics
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Rural Health, Rural Physicians, Medical Students, Medical School, Rural
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2013 18:22
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:11


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