Caring for medical students as patients: Access to services and care- seeking practices of 1,027 students at nine medical schools

Laura Weiss Roberts, Teddy D. Warner, Darren Carter, Erica Frank, Linda Ganzini, Constantine Lyketsos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations


Purpose. The personal health care of medical students is an important but neglected issue in medical education. Preliminary work suggests that medical student-patients experience special barriers to health care services and report problematic care-seeking practices that merit further inquiry. Method. A self-report questionnaire was piloted, revised, and distributed to students at nine medical schools in 1996-97. The survey included questions regarding access to health services, care-seeking practices, and demographic information. Results. A total of 1,027 students participated (52% response rate). Ninety percent reported needing care for various health concerns. Fifty-seven percent did not seek care at times, in part due to training demands, and 48% had encountered difficulties in obtaining care. A majority had received treatment at their training institutions, and students commonly pursued informal or 'curbside' care from medical colleagues. Almost all participants (96%) were insured. Differences in responses were associated with level of training, gender, and medical school. Conclusion. Medical schools shoulder the responsibility not only of educating but also of providing health services for their students. Students encounter barriers to care and engage in problematic care-seeking practices. Greater attention to issues surrounding medical student health may benefit students and their future patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-277
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Education

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