Purpose: To estimate the impact of a U.S. inner-city medical education program on medical school graduates' intentions to practice in underserved communities. Method: The authors conducted an analysis of secondary data on 1,088 medical students who graduated from either the joint University of California, Los Angeles/Charles R. Drew University Medical Education Program (UCLA/Drew) or the UCLA School of Medicine between 1996 and 2002. Intention to practice in underserved communities was measured using students' responses to questionnaires administered at matriculation and graduation for program improvement by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to compare the odds of intending to practice in underserved communities among UCLA/Drew students with those of their counterparts in the UCLA School of Medicine. Results: Compared with students in the UCLA School of Medicine, UCLA/Drew students had greater adjusted odds of reporting intention to work in underserved communities at graduation, greater odds of maintaining or increasing such intentions between matriculation and graduation, and lower odds of decreased intention to work in underserved communities between matriculation and graduation. Conclusions: Training in the UCLA/Drew program was independently associated with intention to practice medicine in underserved communities, suggesting that a medical education program can have a positive effect on students' goals to practice in underserved areas.
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