Determinant factors of choosing public health as a medical residency in Portugal
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ACES Oeste Norte, Portugal
ACES Baixo Mondego
ACES Lisboa Central, Portugal
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1734
Background and Objective:
The Public Health (PH) workforce in Portugal is in a state of decline, with a large number of medical specialists entering the age of retirement before 2025. Despite government efforts to increase the number of vacancies available for medical residents, some are still vacant. Our study attempts to identify the factors that contribute to the choice of PH as a medical residency in Portugal.

From publicly available data regarding the Portuguese medical residency application and selection process from 2016 to 2022, we analyzed the differences between new residents in PH (n=275) and other medical specialties (n=11.483) regarding gender, number of application attempts, medical school, and percentile rank of grades in medical school and in the national access exam.

A significant association between male gender and choosing PH was found with an Odds Ratio (OR) of 1,6 (95% CI: 1,3 - 2,1). Among the eight included medical schools, only one was associated with a higher choice of PH by medical residents (OR=2,0; 95% CI: 1,3 - 3,1). Choosing PH was also associated with a higher average number of application attempts (PH: 1,19 vs. other medical specialties: 1,14, p<0,01), lower grades in medical school (PH: 33,1% vs. other medical specialties: 54,6%, p<0,01) and in the national access exam (PH: 32,3% vs. other medical specialties: 61,2%, p<0,01).

To maintain the sustainability of the PH workforce in Portugal, efforts should be made to understand these factors. Decision makers should reflect if the current curricula in Portuguese medical schools are adequate in raising interest in PH and if the application and selection process is suitable in selecting PH medical residents.

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