Targeted Medical School Admissions: A Strategic Process for Meeting Our Social Mission

Increased medical school class sizes and new medical schools have not addressed the workforce issues in rural communities. This study examined the admissions policies of U.S. allopathic and osteopathic medical schools that target applicants likely to enter rural practice.We surveyed Deans of Admissions about their schools’ targeted admissions strategies aimed at recruitment and selection of students likely to practice rurally. To gain deeper insight into the admissions policies, we conducted interviews with key medical schools.133 of 185 (71.8%) U.S.medical schools responded to our survey.Most respondents (69.2%) reported a targeted process to recruit and select students likely to practice in a rural setting, indicating widespread awareness of workforce challenges. This study demonstrated varying approaches to and allocation of resources towards admissions targeting, especially the application and interviewing processes, with the more resource-intensive efforts occurring less commonly.Interviews with personnel from 10 schools identified key themes pertaining to motivations for targeted admissions strategies, needed resources, challenges to success, and recommendations for schools contemplating admissions changes.
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