Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Martha Copp

Committee Members

Joseph Baker, Leslie McCallister


In anticipation of an expected national shortage of primary care physicians, 24 medical students from the East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine were selected through a snowball sample and participated in in-depth interviews. A major aim of the study was to explore the social and economic factors influencing students’ specialty choice and career interests. Students’ perceptions of “rural” environments, student debt, professional obligations, specialties, and preceptorship experiences were analyzed. Students’ gender heavily influenced their feelings about choosing a medical specialty, as did their stereotypes of physicians in particular medical fields. The thesis concludes with recommendations for challenging negative stereotypes about primary care professions and addressing patterns of inequality within the medical profession.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access


Copyright by the authors.