Context: The maldistribution of physicians in sub-Saharan Africa is having serious impacts on population health. Understanding the effect requires investigation from both donor and recipient countries. However, investigation from the perspective of donor countries has been lacking.
Methods: This brief communication describes a model process for the design of a research project that addresses medical migration issues from the perspective of eight African medical schools. During an international meeting, the participants designed an initial "ideal" study, and then rapidly tested its feasibility through a brief survey, and group discussion through a listserv, teleconferences and one face-to-face meeting.
Findings and practical implications: Innovative research ideas can be followed-up with surveys to test the feasibility of an "ideal" research design, modifying the design accordingly. This is currently occurring with our medical migration survey study.