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Purpose: Little research is available on the demographics and career goals of first-generation medical students. Undergraduate research suggests first-generation students are more likely to come from lower-income households, speak English as a second language, and experience higher drop-out rates. These diverse experiences could make first-generation medical students valuable members of the healthcare team. However, without more information, it is difficult for medical schools to identify and support them. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to define the following inquiry statements: What are the demographic backgrounds and intended career goals of first-generation medical students; How do they differ from non-first-generation students?

Methods: Demographic measures, including first-generation status, and career goals were assessed using a survey administered to a target population of third-year medical students at a private, urban medical school (N=195). All questions were yes-or-no questions. Chi-square goodness of fit tests were conducted to examine differences in demographic measures and career goals by first generation status.

Results and Conclusions: Out of 195 responses, 26 students were first-generation medical students. There were no significant demographic differences between first-generation and non-first-generation students. First-generation status was significantly related to career goals including plans to care for underserved populations, plans to enter loan forgiveness programs, and the desire to practice in an urban/city setting. These results demonstrate that first-generation students make up a notable fraction of student-doctors and have unique needs. Further, this study identifies specific areas for programmatic support that could be implemented by medical colleges to help first-generation students achieve their goals.