As increasing numbers of women and osteopathic physicians enter medical practice, it is important to identify their choices in medical specialty and practice location and the implications these choices have for the future of healthcare in the United States. In 2003, data from the Texas Medical Board and the Office of the [Texas] State Demographer were aggregated to compare the rates at which physicians differed in their choices to practice primary care specialties in a rural location. In addition, the impact of sex and type of medical degree on these choices was examined. Analyses revealed that male osteopathic physicians were 2.3 times more likely than all other physician groups to practice rural primary care. Analyses also revealed that female osteopathic physicians were more likely than other physicians to choose primary care as a specialty and were 2.5 times more likely than female allopathic physicians to practice primary care in a rural location. Policies intended to produce primary care or rural primary care physicians should take into account the effects of gender and osteopathic training.

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