Publication Suggests that Doctors Trained in Teaching Health Centers Will Practice in Underserved Areas

In a new article published in Academic Medicine by Dr. Zohray Talib of GW’s School of Medicine, a team of researchers led by Professor Marsha Regenstein at the Milken Institute School of Public Health Policy and Management present what the authors view as encouraging news about the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program.  Established by the Affordable Care Act, the program directly funds community-based patient care sites to train residents in community-based primary care practice and to encourage them to practice in underserved areas after they complete their training. 

Primary Care Residents in Teaching Health Centers: Their Intentions to Practice in Underserved Settings After Residency Training” presents results from a survey of residents in Teaching Health Centers. The paper’s authors, which include Professor of Pediatrics, Health Policy and Management and Co-Director of GW’s Workforce Institute Fitzhugh Mullan, Research Scientist Mariellen Malloy Jewers and Senior Research Associate Julia H. Strasser of the Department of Health Policy and Management, and Dr. David Popiel of GW’s Medical Faculty Associates, found that more than half (55%) of residents in Teaching Health Centers reported intentions to practice in underserved rural and urban settings upon completion of their residency training.  The researchers noted that teaching health centers attract residents from rural and/or disadvantaged backgrounds who seem to be more inclined to practice in underserved areas than those from more urban and economically advantaged roots.

The authors conclude that Teaching Health Center residents’ intentions to practice in underserved areas indicate that primary care training programs sponsored by community-based ambulatory patient care sites represent a promising strategy to improve the health care workforce distribution in the United States.