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February 10, 1993

The Supply of Rural Physicians

JAMA. 1993;269(6):743-744. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500060043014

To the Editor.  —Rosenblatt et al1 have provided important data useful for studying methods to deal with the worsening maldistribution of physicians in America. This study makes clear the need for medical schools to clarify their mission and redefine the medical student training process if they seriously want to effect change in the health manpower needs of rural areas. Rosenblatt et al have identified factors linked with the production of rural physicians and further espouse the concept of special rural tracks as a possible key to achieve these ends. However, as a rural general internist, I feel that I must challenge one of their conclusions: "... that academic medical centers... will need to create conditions that increase student interest in family medicine specifically." Their conclusion draws from percentages of graduates in specialty groups practicing in rural counties. The specialty group with the highest percentage of rural practitioners was family practice