Do residencies that aim to produce rural family physicians offer relevant training?

  • Abstract


    Rural family physicians are in short supply. Rural training can promote rural practice, but the number of family medicine residencies with a rural focus, geographic distribution of training, and training content are poorly understood. This study identified rural-centric family medicine residencies, their training locations, and rurally relevant skills training provided.


    The authors identified family medicine residencies offering rural tracks or in rural locations using FREIDA OnlineĀ®, the American Osteopathic Association “Opportunities,” and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians Residency Finder online databases. Program personnel completed a survey in 2013 about training locations and content.


    Of 583, 171 (29%) family medicine residencies met inclusion criteria. A total of 131 returned surveys (77%). Fifty-eight programs (44% of respondents) required at least 8 weeks of rural training; results describe these rural-centric programs. Programs reported a mean of 43.6 weeks (SD 49.7) of required rural block rotations. Mean hours per week in required rural continuity clinic sessions were 14.3 (SD 12.2). Thirty-nine percent of block rotation sites, 31% of clinic sites, and 21% of full-time training sites reported as rural were urban according to Rural-Urban Commuting Area codes. Over 90% of programs provided training in orthopedic care and emergency skills. Fewer than 60% provided endoscopy and operative obstetrics training.


    Though numerous family medicine residencies seek to produce rural physicians, most programs required fewer than 8 weeks of rural training. Programs varied substantially in rurally located training and rurally relevant content. Students seeking rural training should examine program curricula carefully.

  • Authors:

    Evans D, Patterson DG, Andrilla CHA, Schmitz D, Longenecker R

  • Journal/Publisher:

    Family Medicine

  • Edition:

    Dec 2016. 48:596-602

  • Link to Article

    Access the article here: Family Medicine

  • Citation:

    Evans D, Patterson DG, Andrilla CHA, Schmitz D, Longenecker R. Do Residencies That Aim To Produce Rural Family Physicians Offer Relevant Training? Family Medicine. Dec 2016 48:596-602

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