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October 1, 1997

Where Do Residency Graduates Start Medical Practice?-Reply

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago, Ill
Association of American Medical Colleges Washington, DC

JAMA. 1997;278(13):1063-1064. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550130037031

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In Reply.  —We agree with Dr Stolee that practicing in a community of any size should not be presented as undesirable as long as it is the physician's choice. Unfortunately, working in a small town does not appear to be the choice of an adequate number of physicians. Over the years, some workforce planners have argued to remedy the lack of physicians in small towns and underserved areas by overproducing the supply of physicians, thereby forcing location in these areas. Others, including us, disagree with this concept and believe that positive incentives are essential to increase the number of physicians in small towns. Stolee's approach of educating physicians interested in small town practice has achieved a laudable degree of success. In our survey, we asked how many physicians practiced in small towns (22.3%) and, of those physicians, how many found an employment opportunity only by doing so. The findings indicated that 3.4%