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J Rural Health. 2000 Summer;16(3):254-61.

Impact of rural training on physician work force: the role of postresidency education.

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  • 1dacosta1@netzero


Many innovative strategies have been developed over the years to improve the recruitment and retention of physicians in the shortage areas of rural America. These strategies have met with varying success. Postresidency education, or fellowship training, for family physicians is yet another strategy that has been developed for the same purpose. Most applicants have been interested in obstetrical and rural health fellowship programs as a means for preparing for rural practice. This paper describes these programs (demographics, funding, applicant pool, curriculum) and reviews their graduate outcomes (practice location after matriculation, clinical privileges). Twenty-nine obstetrical and nine rural health fellowships are currently operational in the United States. Fellows who complete a rural health fellowship have a higher tendency to locate in rural settings. Almost all graduates from obstetrical and rural health programs attain general hospital privileges in family practice, including low-risk obstetrics. A significant number of graduates from both types of programs attain privileges in high-risk and operative obstetrics as well. Fellowship training can play an integral role in the preparation of family physicians for rural practice.

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