Title VII funding and physician practice in rural or low-income areas

J Rural Health. 2005 Winter;21(1):3-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2005.tb00056.x.


Context: Whether Title VII funding enhances physician supply in underserved areas has not clearly been established.

Purpose: To determine the relation between Title VII funding in medical school, residency, or both, and the number of family physicians practicing in rural or low-income communities.

Methods: A retrospective cross sectional analysis was carried out using the 2000 American Academy of Family Physicians physician database, Title VII funding records, and 1990 U.S. Census data. Included were 9,107 family physicians practicing in 9 nationally representative states in the year 2000.

Findings: Physicians exposed to Title VII funding through medical school and residency were more likely to have their current practice in low-income communities (11.9% vs 9.9%, P< or =.02) and rural areas (24.5% vs 21.8%, P< or =.02). Physicians were more likely to practice in rural communities if they attended medical schools (24.2% vs 21.4%; P =.009) and residencies (24.0% vs 20.3%; P =.011) after the school or program had at least 5 years of Title VII funding vs before. Similar increases were not observed for practice in low-income communities. In a multivariate analysis, exposure to funding and attending an institution with more years of funding independently increased the odds of practicing in rural or low-income communities.

Conclusions: Title VII funding is associated with an increase in the family physician workforce in rural and low-income communities. This effect is temporally related to initiation of funding and independently associated with effect in a multivariate analysis, suggesting a potential causal relationship. Whereas the absolute 2% increase in family physicians in these underserved communities may seem modest, it can represent a substantial increase in access to health care for community members.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Career Choice
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Practice* / economics
  • Family Practice* / education
  • Financing, Government / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / economics
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Physicians, Family / supply & distribution*
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data
  • Professional Practice Location / economics*
  • Professional Practice Location / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rural Health Services / economics*
  • Rural Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • Training Support / economics*
  • Training Support / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States
  • Workforce