Premedical education: The contribution of small local colleges

John R. Wheat, John E. Brandon, Lee R. Carter, James D. Leeper, James R. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Context: Small local colleges may be sources of medical students with the gender, ethnicity, and background that promote identity with and empathy for underserved populations. Purpose: This study examined the impact of attendance at these premedical colleges on outcomes of medical education. Methods: Data for 2508 matriculates to the University of Alabama School of Medicine, a state-supported medical school, were examined according to premedical colleges attended. Findings: Medical students who had graduated from small local colleges were more diverse in gender, race, and rural background than other students. They had slightly lower academic performance in medical school, were more likely to drop out (10.6% versus 5.3% overall), and were more likely to locate in rural areas of the host state. Conclusions: Small local colleges may be rich sources of student diversity and medical students who choose rural practice, outcomes that are gained at a cost in terms of drop-out rate. Compared with other students, minor differences in performance and larger differences in the drop-out rate raise the question of cultural context and social support during medical school as points for intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-189
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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