The role of medical education in the recruitment and retention of rural physicians

Med Teach. 2004 May;26(3):265-72. doi: 10.1080/0142159042000192055.


In many countries the sustainability of rural healthcare systems is being challenged by a shortage of rural physicians and difficulties in recruiting and retaining physicians in rural practice. There are numerous factors that influence efforts in rural physician recruitment and retention, many of which are beyond the scope of the academic medical centre and medical education. Nevertheless, there are strategies that medical schools can adopt to contribute to efforts to recruit and retain physicians in rural communities. Rural student recruitment, admissions policies, rural-oriented medical curriculum, rural practice learning experiences, faculty values and attitudes, and advanced procedural skills training are areas which the medical school has direct control of and which have been shown to influence the likelihood of medical students entering rural primary care practice. The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on some of the key strategies that have been identified in the literature.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Career Choice
  • Education, Medical*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Humans
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Personnel Selection*
  • Personnel Turnover
  • Rural Health Services*
  • Workforce