Increasing the amount of training time in rural areas increases the odds that Family Physicians work rurally
On behalf of ABFM, we are pleased to share the following news release from Menzies School of Health Research featuring a recent article, Family Medicine Residencies: How Rural Training Exposure in GME is Associated With Subsequent Rural Practice, involving ABFM collaborators.
New research which links the amount of training time spent in rural areas during their residencies with the odds of Family Physicians working in rural and remote areas has today been published in the American Journal of Graduate Medical Education.
The study addresses an urgent need to understand how to increase the likelihood of junior doctors choosing to practice as Family Physicians in rural areas so that chronic shortages can be eased.
The paper, titled Family Medicine Residencies: How Rural Training Exposure in GME Is Associated With Subsequent Rural Practice, shows that when Family Medicine residents train in rural areas they are more likely to subsequently decide to work in rural areas.
While other research has previously identified associations between rural training – particularly as a medical student – and subsequent rural practice, this study showed that as the amount of rural training increased, so did their likelihood of rural practice once they were Family Physicians.
Lead author, Menzies Senior Research Fellow Dr Deborah Russell, said that almost all (91%) Family Medicine residents in the study had no rural training.
“The findings suggest that greater investment in rural training programs, for example by redistributing existing funds to expand Rural Track Programs, could help address forecast shortages in the rural primary care workforce,” Dr Russell said.
“This may require scaling up of the $30 million Rural Residency Planning and Development initiative and ensuring its longer-term financing. Also important will be addressing the disadvantage experienced by Rural residency programs which occurs as a result of eligibility criteria and funding formulae which favor disbursement of funds to GME programs in larger urban hospitals.”
The published paper can be read here: Family Medicine Residencies: How Rural Training Exposure in GME is Associated With Subsequent Rural Practice.
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