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J Am Board Fam Med. 2008 Jul-Aug;21(4):353-5. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2008.04.080022.

Practice-based research network membership is associated with retention of clinicians in underserved communities: a Research Involving Outpatient Settings Network (RIOS Net) study.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM, USA.



Professional isolation is a barrier to practicing in rural and underserved communities. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between membership in a practice-based research network and the length of employment in members' and nonmembers' current clinic sites.


This was a cross sectional study of 7 group practices (2 urban and 5 rural groups comprising 22 clinic sites) throughout New Mexico that had RIOS Net member and nonmember practicing clinicians.


The 22 clinics employed 95 clinicians, of which 43% were RIOS Net members (21 of 59 MDs, 8 of 18 Nurse Practitioners, 9 of 15 Physician Assistants and 3 of 3 others). RIOS Net members had a significantly longer mean employment time (7.0 years; SD, 6.8 years; median, 5.0 years), compared with non-RIOS Net members (4.0 years; SD, 5.0 years; median, 2.3 years; P = .003). Similar results were found when analyzed by length of time in practice with cutoffs of 2 and 5 years.


Being a member of a practice-based research network may be a determinate of staying in rural practice longer. This is a hypothesis-generating study and needs confirmation from larger studies whose analysis stratifies clinician demographics and practice type.

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