Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Health Services and Policy Management

First Advisor

Ronnie D. Horner


This study aims to examine the relationship of medical school students who select primary care as their career specialty. Based on extensive literature review, we focused on the three main factors that influence students to consider career specialty: lifestyle, income, and medical school culture. With a paper questionnaire of a cross-sectional study survey at ten medical schools, we were able to collect 1,006 participants from fourth and fifth year students. The clear majority of students considered lifestyle characteristics to be a significant influence in their career decision (PP<.05). Also, we found there was a significant relationship between students’ specialty choices and income variables. The result showed us that medical school culture played a notable role in terms of forming the students’ decisions in different ways. First, specialty characteristics were strongly correlated with career consideration. Second, having advising and mentoring within the medical school enhanced the probability of choosing primary care specialty. Finally, the effect of the primary care course was significant and closely related to the choice of the primary care specialty. In conclusion, the study demonstrated the impact of lifestyle, income, and medical school culture on student career selection. These results are in parallel with previous studies conducted in many countries around the world.

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