New, for-profit medical schools aren’t the only institutions supplying the doctors rural America needs. (“New for-profit medical schools springing up across U.S.,” June 21.) Historically, graduates of international medical schools have been far more likely to practice in non-urban areas with primary-care shortages than their U.S.-trained counterparts.
Twenty percent of the U.S. population lives in rural settings; only 10 percent of doctors practice there. Rural communities have 20 percent fewer doctors per person than their urban counterparts.
International medical graduates are addressing that shortage. Two-thirds practice in non-urban areas with government-designated shortages of primary-care physicians.
International medical grads are also more likely to go into primary care. Three-quarters of graduates from the school I lead, St. George’s University, in Grenada, go into primary care. By contrast, less than one-third of U.S. med students specialize in primary care.
Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University, Grenada, West Indies