A survey of rural medical education strategies throughout the medical education continuum in Canada

countrydoc.jpg   This article by Dr. Vernon Curran and colleagues was published in late 2007 in the French journal Cahiers de Sociologie et de Demographie Medicales [full text by subscription]. This issue contains several interesting articles on the state of health care in rural Canada.

Curran VR, Fleet L, Pong RW, Bornstein S, Jong M, Strasser RP, Tesson G.  A survey of rural medical education strategies throughout the medical education continuum in Canada. Cah Sociol Demogr Med 2007 Oct-Dec;47(4):445-68.
Abstract: In many countries the sustainability of rural health care systems is being challenged by a shortage of rural physicians and difficulties in recruiting and retaining physicians in rural practice. Research does suggest that specific medical education strategies can be introduced to enhance rural physician recruitment and retention initiatives. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the current strategies of Canadian rural medical education programs. A survey of all Canadian medical schools was undertaken to profile specific programs and activities at the undergraduate, postgraduate, and continuing medical education/continuing professional development (CME/CPD) levels. The majority of medical schools reported either mandatory or elective rural medicine placement/learning experiences during undergraduate medical education, as well as Rural Family Medicine streams or programs as components of postgraduate medical education. The majority of medical schools reported that they provide clinical traineeships to enhance clinical competencies in rural medicine as well as CME outreach programming, including the use of telehealth or distance learning technologies. Canadian medical schools all have substantial programs covering the full range of approaches found in the literature to help recruit and retain rural physicians. Not surprisingly, the most extensive programs are found in medical schools that have a specific rural mandate.

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