The World Health Organization has designated the teaching of otitis media management skills a "priority" status. Effective treatment of ear disease requires that the physician be both informationally educated as well as physically trained to use otoscopy. Little is known about how well this education can be provided in a short time and in a foreign country. To more objectively assess teaching effect, results of an education session for rural Mexican pediatric primary-care providers who were given an intensive otitis media lecture and otoscopy skills workshop in 1990 were evaluated. To test immediate cognitive impact, an anonymous written examination was given both before and after the teaching session. Average test scores after the educational sessions improved 24% (p < 0.001) over baseline scores before the sessions. To evaluate long-term impact on clinical practice, a follow-up telephone survey 2 years later was conducted. The use of an otoscope to diagnose otitis media had increased from 40% to 93% of respondents. We conclude that pediatric primary-care providers in rural Mexico possess a baseline level of knowledge about otitis media that can be significantly enhanced with one educational session. Further, this teaching effort produces an impact on practice pattern that lasts at least 2 years.