Characteristics of medical students interested in emergency medicine with intention to practice in underserved areas

Carina Abreu, John Jawiche, Mytien Nguyen, Andrew K. Chang, Ashar Ata, Symone Reid, Hyacinth R.C. Mason, Daniel Rebagliati, Joy M. Myers, Dorcas Pinto, Donna B Jeffe, Dowin Boatright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Emergency departments serve a wide variety of racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender backgrounds. It is currently unknown what characteristics of students who express interest in emergency medicine (EM) are associated with a simultaneous desire to work in medically underserved areas. We hypothesize that those who are underrepresented in medicine, are female, learn another language, and have more student debt will be more likely to practice in a medically underserved area. Methods: Data from the National Board of Medical Examiners, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Student Record System, and the AAMC Graduation Questionnaire were collected on a national cohort of 92,013 U.S. medical students who matriculated from 2007 through 2012. Extracted variables included planned practice area, intention to practice in underserved areas, race/ethnicity, sex, medical school experiences, age at matriculation, debt at graduation, and first-attempt USMLE Step 1 score. Results: EM-intending students who identified as female, non-Hispanic Black/African American, or Latinx/Hispanic; had a larger debt at graduation; had experiences with health education in the community; had global health experience; and had learned more than one language were more likely to report an intention to practice in underserved areas. Conclusion: With the increasing importance of physician diversity to match those of the community being served, this study identifies factors associated with a desire of EM students to work in underserved areas. Medical schools and EM residencies may wish to consider these factors in their admissions process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S65-S72
JournalAEM Education and Training
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • EM
  • intent to practice in underserved areas
  • medical students


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