Preparing Physicians for Rural Practice: Availability of Rural Training in Rural-Centric Residency Programs


  • Abstract

    Background. Exposing residents to rural training encourages future rural practice, but unified accreditation of allopathic and osteopathic graduate medical education under one system by 2020 has uncertain implications for rural residency programs.
    Objective. We describe training locations and rural-specific content of rural-centric residency programs (requiring at least 8 weeks of rurally located training) before this transition.
    Methods. In 2015, we surveyed residency programs that were rurally located or had rural tracks in 7 specialties and classified training locations as rural or urban using Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes.
    Results. Of 1849 residencies in anesthesiology, emergency medicine, general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and psychiatry, 119 (6%) were rurally located or offered a rural track. Ninety-seven programs (82%) responded to the survey. Thirty-six programs required at least 8 weeks of rural training for some or all residents, and 69% of these rural-centric residencies were urban-based and 53% were osteopathic. Locations were rural for 26% of hospital rotations and 28% of continuity clinics. Many rural-centric programs (35%) reported only urban ZIP codes for required rural block rotations; 54% reported only urban ZIP codes for required rural clinic sessions, and 31% listed only urban ZIP codes in reporting rural full-time training locations. Programs varied widely in coverage of rural-specific training in 6 core competencies.
    Conclusions. In multiple specialties important for rural health care systems, little rurally located residency training and rural-specific content was available. Substantial proportions of training locations reported to be rural were actually urban according to a common rural definition.


  • Authors:

    Patterson DG, Andrilla CHA, Garberson LA

  • Journal/Publisher:

    J Grad Med Educ

  • Edition:

    Oct 2019. Vol. 11, No. 5, pp. 550-557

  • Link to Article

    Access the article here: J Grad Med Educ

  • Citation:

    Patterson DG, Andrilla CHA, Garberson LA. Preparing Physicians For Rural Practice: Availability Of Rural Training In Rural-centric Residency Programs. J Grad Med Educ. Oct 2019 Vol. 11, No. 5, pp. 550-557

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