Rural Health Care in Medical Education

The AAFP recommends the following:

  • That medical education include curriculum and student experiences pertinent to careers in rural medicine.
  • That federal and state funding incentives be altered to support medical schools with a track record of producing rural physicians.
  • That graduate medical education funding be redesigned to give direct and increased support to rural-based residency training programs including teaching health centers.
  • Increased flexibility in the design of curricula by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to enhance training of physicians with the needed skills for all aspects of family medicine, including rural practice.

The AAFP supports partnerships between academic medical centers and rural communities to train rural physicians. These partnerships should be encouraged by financial incentives on the state and federal level. They should also be supported by the AAFP constituent chapters.

The AAFP recognizes that increasing the family physician supply will increase the rural physician supply, since family physicians are more likely than any others to enter rural practice. Thus, the AAFP supports legislative initiatives that support family medicine education, such as Title VII of the United States Public Service Act, Teaching Health Centers, and the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) system. Preferences and priorities for Title VII funding should specifically encourage the production of rural physicians.

The AAFP and National Rural Health Association have developed a joint statement that supports the above conclusions.  (B1991) (2015 COD)