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Open AccessArticle

Rural Work and Specialty Choices of International Students Graduating from Australian Medical Schools: Implications for Policy

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Rural Clinical School, The University of Queensland, Rockhampton 4700, Australia
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School of Rural Health, Monash University, Bendigo, 3550, Australia
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Northern Territory Medical Program, Flinders University, Darwin 800, Australia
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Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin 800, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5056; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245056
Received: 4 November 2019 / Revised: 9 December 2019 / Accepted: 9 December 2019 / Published: 11 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Health Workforce)
Almost 500 international students graduate from Australian medical schools annually, with around 70% commencing medical work in Australia. If these Foreign Graduates of Accredited Medical Schools (FGAMS) wish to access Medicare benefits, they must initially work in Distribution Priority Areas (mainly rural). This study describes and compares the geographic and specialty distribution of FGAMS. Participants were 18,093 doctors responding to Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life national annual surveys, 2012–2017. Multiple logistic regression models explored location and specialty outcomes for three training groups (FGAMS; other Australian-trained (domestic) medical graduates (DMGs); and overseas-trained doctors (OTDs)). Only 19% of FGAMS worked rurally, whereas 29% of Australia’s population lives rurally. FGAMS had similar odds of working rurally as DMGs (OR 0.93, 0.77–1.13) and about half the odds of OTDs (OR 0.48, 0.39–0.59). FGAMS were more likely than DMGs to work as general practitioners (GPs) (OR 1.27, 1.03–1.57), but less likely than OTDs (OR 0.74, 0.59–0.92). The distribution of FGAMS, particularly geographically, is sub-optimal for improving Australia’s national medical workforce goals of adequate rural and generalist distribution. Opportunities remain for policy makers to expand current policies and develop a more comprehensive set of levers to promote rural and GP distribution from this group. View Full-Text
Keywords: rural; medical workforce; health policy; international students; maldistribution; general practice; Australia; access rural; medical workforce; health policy; international students; maldistribution; general practice; Australia; access
MDPI and ACS Style

McGrail, M.R.; O’Sullivan, B.G.; Russell, D.J. Rural Work and Specialty Choices of International Students Graduating from Australian Medical Schools: Implications for Policy. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 5056.

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