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Community College Pathways



To examine the association between participation in a community college (CC) pathway, medical school admission, and intentions to practice in underserved communities or work with minority populations.


The authors performed cross-sectional analyses of the 2012 Association of American Medical Colleges matriculant and applicant files and the Matriculating Student Questionnaire to assess associations between student characteristics and participation in a CC pathway. They used logistic regression to estimate the association among CC pathway and acceptance to medical school, intention to practice in underserved areas, or intention to work with minority populations.


There were 40,491 applicants and 17,518 matriculants to U.S. MD-granting schools; about one-third used a CC. A higher proportion of underrepresented minority (URM) matriculants used CC pathways compared with whites. Applicants who attended a CC after high school and before a four-year university (First-CC) had lower odds of acceptance into medical school (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.68; 95% CI 0.61-0.75; P < .05). Compared with medical students who never attended a CC, First-CC matriculants were more likely to have parents without a college education (304/895 [34%] versus 1,683/12,598 [13%], P < .001) and higher odds of intentions to practice in underserved communities (AOR = 1.26; 95% CI 1.04-1.53; P < .05), after adjusting for covariates.


There is both high representation of URM students and higher prevalence of intention to work with underserved communities among CC pathway participants. These findings may be of interest to those seeking to enhance diversity in the physician workforce.

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