Effect of a global longitudinal pathway on medical students' attitudes toward the medically indigent

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; ; Office of Medical Education; Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; *Attitude of Health Personnel; Cultural Diversity; Emigration and Immigration; Female; Humans; Male; Massachusetts; Medical Indigency; *Medically Underserved Area; *Medically Uninsured; Poverty; Social Welfare; Students, Medical; *Travel


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Medical Education | Preventive Medicine | Primary Care


BACKGROUND: The increase in people with insufficient health insurance has largely been fueled by a record influx of immigrants, who often live in medically underserved areas of inner cities. An increase in the desire of medical students to practice in underserved areas is needed to counter low physician-to-population ratios in these areas.

PURPOSE: To assess the effect of a Pathway on Serving Multicultural and Underserved Populations, which includes domestic and international experiences with recent immigrant groups, on the attitudes of students toward the indigent.

METHODS: Students from the classes of 2002 and 2003, including a cohort in the Pathway program, were participants in this study. Changes in attitudes within Pathway and non-Pathway students were studied over their 4 years of medical school.

RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in the rate of change of attitudes over time. The determination of any potential difference was hampered by small sample sizes. Thus, interesting trends, especially related to a more rapid decline in attitudes of non-Pathway students, including their sense of professional responsibility, did not achieve statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS: Further research, both quantitative and qualitative, is needed before we can state more definitively that the Pathway curriculum supports positive attitudes toward serving the medically indigent.

DOI of Published Version



Teach Learn Med. 2006 Summer;18(3):226-32. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Teaching and learning in medicine

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID