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Am J Surg. 2020 Feb;219(2):355-358. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2019.11.040. Epub 2019 Dec 25.

Outcomes and influences of rural-focused integrated clerkship programs in general surgery.

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Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota, United States. Electronic address:
Medical School Duluth Campus, University of Minnesota, United States.
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota, United States.
Department of Sociology, University of Georgia, United States.
Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota, United States.



A shortage of general surgeons is predicted in the future, with particular impact on rural surgery. This is an exploratory analysis on a rural-focused longitudinal integrated clerkship to determine if such clerkships can be used to increase interest and recruitment in rural general surgery.


An institutional database was reviewed to identify students who became general surgeons after completing a rural-focused longitudinal integrated clerkship. Telephone interviews were conducted on a portion of these surgeons.


Fifty-seven students (3.6%) completing the rural-focused longitudinal integrated clerkship became general surgeons. Of those participating in phone interviews, most (90%) decided to become surgeons during their experience while all stated that preclinical years did not influence their specialty decision.


A substantial portion of these surgeons went on to practice in rural communities. Pre-existing rural and primary care-focused education could help to address the future projected shortage of rural general surgeons.


General surgery; Longitudinal integrated clerkship; Medical student; Rural surgery

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