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Community College Pathways to Medical School and Family Medicine Residency Training

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Medical students who attend community college are more likely to express intention to train in family medicine. This study examined whether community college attendance is associated with family medicine residency training in a national sample of US medical school graduates.


We performed a cross-sectional analysis using the Association of American Medical Colleges matriculant files of residency trainees who graduated from medical school between 2010 to 2012. Residency specialty (family medicine vs other) was modeled using logistic regression analysis; the key independent variable was community college attendance, with categories of non-community college (reference); community college while in high school; community college after graduating from high school, then transfer to 4-year university; and community college after graduating from a 4-year university or as a postbaccalaureate. The logistic model adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, years in medical school, parental education (a marker of socioeconomic status), and high school US region.


Of the 43,382 medical school graduates studied, 25.9% attended community college and 8.7% trained in family medicine. In unadjusted analysis, graduates attending community college while in high school, after graduating from high school with transfer to 4-year university, or after graduating from a 4-year university or as a postbaccalaureate (12.0%, 12.7%, and 10.8%, respectively) were more likely to train in family medicine compared with their peers who did not attend community college (7.7%). Respective adjusted odds ratios were 1.47 (95% CI, 1.33-1.63; P <.001), 1.27 (95% CI, 1.06-1.52; P = .009), and 1.17 (95% CI, 1.06-2.29; P = .002). Among family medicine residents, 32.7% of those who were white, 35.2% of those Asian, 50.8% of those Latino, and 32.7% of those black or African American attended community college.


US medical school graduates who attended community college were more likely to train in family medicine, suggesting community college is an important pathway for increasing the primary care workforce.

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