Choosing a women's health career

Isabel C Green, Alessandra J. Ainsworth, Julia Riddle, Dawn M. Finnie, Betty Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: In 2005, in response to a decline in residency applications in obstetrics and gynecology (OB GYN), the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology Presidential Task Force outlined strategies for attracting medical students to OB GYN. Application rates have increased since then, but little is known about which interventions are effective. We aimed to identify modifiable and nonmodifiable variables that may contribute to students choosing OB GYN for their careers; this information could be used to inform curriculum design, faculty development, and innovative exposures to women's health. Methods: This qualitative study received institutional review board approval. Eligible participants were students who applied or recently matched into OB GYN residency programs from the class of 2014-2016 at our institution. Students were interviewed with open-ended questions and a Likert-type survey. Thematic analysis was performed. Results: Ten qualitative interviews were completed and analyzed. Intrinsic themes such as the potential for a meaningful job in women's health, advocacy for women, or empowerment of women were identified as factors contributing to participant career choice. Extrinsic themes such as positive impressions during the clinical clerkship and welcoming teams were also identified. Most students indicated that the clerkship was the most influential experience. Conclusions: Participants identified important events, including some that even preceded medical school that guided them toward OB GYN. The data guide us to consider the importance of emphasizing the unique combination of characteristics in OB GYN and improving the learning environment in the clerkship as a way to encourage student recruitment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number251
JournalBMC medical education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 6 2018


  • Medical student
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Choosing a women's health career'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this