AAMC: Free clinic opportunities spark medical students' interest in practicing in underserved areas

Medical students who had a chance to practice in a free clinic were nearly twice as likely to be willing to practice in underserved areas than medical students who did not, according to an Analysis in Brief from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

On a national level, 131 American medical schools offered students the opportunity to take part in free clinics, and 75 percent of medical students reported working in a free clinic.

However, since 1998, only 30 percent of U.S. medical students expressed intent to practice medicine in an underserved area.

But the latest AAMC finding may give medical schools a better idea of what drives students' desires to head to such underserved areas. According to the AIB, 75 percent of students who worked in free clinics were interested in practicing in an underserved area, compared to 58 percent of students who did not have such an opportunity.

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