Many rural communities rely on family physicians for obstetrical (OB) care. Family medicine (FM) residencies vary in the breadth and depth of OB training, so many family physicians interested in practicing OB in rural areas seek additional fellowship training. This study aimed to describe characteristics of rurally oriented FM OB fellowships and challenges these programs face in providing OB training.
This policy brief describes the results of a survey on the characteristics and challenges faced by rurally oriented family medicine obstetrics fellowship programs. All survey respondents reported their programs had a mission to train family physicians for rural practice, yet less than one-third of programs reported they required rural training. Nearly all fellowships reported training graduates to provide prenatal and delivery care, including vaginal deliveries, C-sections, gynecology procedures, and OB ultrasound. The most frequently reported major challenges to providing rural OB training were community factors that included competition with other OB providers, declining OB patient populations, and lack of community awareness of family physicians’ scope of practice. Policy efforts are needed to strengthen rural training opportunities for OB-inclined family medicine trainees.
Authors:Woolcock S, Fredrickson E, Evans DV, Andrilla CHA, Garberson LA, Patterson DG
Journal/Publisher:WWAMI Rural Health Research Center, University of Washington
Citation:Woolcock S, Fredrickson E, Evans DV, Andrilla CHA, Garberson LA, Patterson DG. Understanding and Overcoming Barriers to Rural Training in Family Medicine Obstetrics Fellowships. WWAMI Rural Health Research Center, University of Washington, Jun 2023.
Related Studies:Overcoming Barriers to Providing Rural Obstetrical Training for Physicians