Although it's long been thought that family medicine residency program graduates settle close to their residency training sites, new research from the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care confirms that claim.
According to a Graham Center one-pager published in the Nov. 15 issue of American Family Physician, researchers used 2009 data from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile to determine that 56 percent of family medicine residency graduates practice within 100 miles of where they completed their residency training.
Furthermore, 39 percent locate within 25 miles, and 19 percent stay within five miles of their training program.
A Nov. 15 news release(www.graham-center.org) announced the research findings, which were presented with a paper titled "Migration After Family Medicine Residency: 56% of Graduates Practice Within 100 Miles of Training."
In the news release, researcher E. Blake Fagan, M.D., said the country desperately needs to increase the number of primary care physicians in rural areas and that the research findings provide the key to do just that.
"We need to increase funding to our rural family medicine training sites and establish new residency programs in those areas because the majority of graduates practice close to where they train," said Fagan.
He and his research colleagues said the maldistribution of physicians continues to compromise access to primary care for patients nationwide.
The researchers agreed that their findings support efforts to decentralize graduate medical education training through models such as teaching health centers and rural training tracks.
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