The Social Mission in Medical School Mission Statements: Associations with Graduate Outcomes

Background and Objectives: Mission statements of medical schools vary considerably. These statements reflect institutional values and may also be reflected in the outputs of their institutions. The authors explored the relationship between US medical school mission statement content and outcomes in terms of graduate location and specialty choices.

Methods: A panel of stakeholders (medical school deans, faculty, medical students, and administrators) completed a Web-based instrument to create a linear scale of social mission content (SMC scale), scoring the degree to which medical school mission statements reflect the social mission of medical education to address inequities. The SMC scale and targeted medical school outputs were analyzed via OLS regression, controlling for allopathic/osteopathic and public/private school designation. The medical school outputs of interest included percent physician output in primary care specialties (family medicine, pediatrics, and general internal medicine), as well as percent physician output in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/P).

Results: SMC scale was a statistically significant, positive predictor of the percent of physician graduates entering primary care (?=2.526, P=.001). When examining the specialties within primary care, the SMC scale only significantly predicted percent of graduating physicians entering family medicine (?=1.936, P=.003). SMC scale was also a statistically significant predictor of several measures of physician output to work in underserved areas and populations, the strongest of which was the percent of graduating physicians working in MUA/Ps (?=4.256, P?.01).

Conclusions: Mission statements that are diligently utilized by leaders in medical education may produce a higher degree of alignment between institutional structure, ideology, and workforce outcomes.

Citation: Morley CP, Mader EM, Smilnak T, et al. The social mission in medical school mission statements: associations with graduate outcomes. Fam Med. 2015;47(6):427-34.

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