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Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira

Print version ISSN 0104-4230On-line version ISSN 1806-9282


EZEQUIEL, Oscarina da Silva et al. Geographical distribution of medical graduates from a public university. Rev. Assoc. Med. Bras. [online]. 2017, vol.63, n.6, pp.512-520. ISSN 1806-9282.


To evaluate the geographic distribution and career trajectory of medical graduates and the factors associated with their choice of practice location.


A cross-sectional study involving graduates from December 2001 to December 2010 was conducted. A self-administered questionnaire collected demographics and geographic information (place of birth, place of residence at the time of medical school admission, place of residency training and practice location), and reason for choosing the current location. Statistical analyses assessed trends in geographic distribution of graduates, and identified factors associated with location choice (through the population density of the location chosen for professional practice).


A total of 563 graduates completed the questionnaire. Of those, 4.3% (n=24) reported family medicine as their medical specialty, 19.9% (n=112) reported other primary care specialties (internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery and obstetrics-gynecology) and the others chose subspecialties. Larger cities were more likely to be chosen for practice, particularly for newly-graduated doctors. Job invitations received during medical residency training increased the likelihood of choosing high-populated cities. In contrast, job invitations received during medical school increased the likelihood of choosing cities less populated. Amongst those in cities with lower population density, proximity to family members was an additional influencing factor; those who chose more densely populated cities did so because of better infrastructure and recreational options.


Most of the physicians included in this study pursue subspecialties training and were practicing medicine in large cities. Knowing the multiple factors that influenced the choice of practice location can assist in planning future strategies to reduce physician workforce misdistribution.

Keywords : physicians distribution; primary health care; professional practice location.

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