Ob-gyn residents value working with underserved communities, yet those communities still lack providers

May 5, 2023

A workforce report from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists highlighted the lack of obstetricians and gynecologists in underserved rural and urban communities. They predicted increasing disparities in access to care if that trend continues.

A new research letter explores what ob-gyn residents think about the importance of working with underserved populations.

More than 5,300 residents answered questions about the importance of providing care to underserved communities after graduation. Overall, 72% said caring for those communities was very important or important. The residents more likely to think this work was very important were:

Native American, Black, Hispanic, and multiracial residents
Female residents
Residents who had dedicated clinical training experiences focusing on underserved populations.

The researchers found that overall, ob-gyn residents largely value caring for underserved patients. Yet there is still a shortage of obstetricians and gynecologists who work in underserved areas. Future research should explore the discrepancy between this belief and the actual practice of working in those communities to understand the many factors that affect where residents decide to practice.