Will Learning in a Small Town Encourage Physicians to Practice There?

Aug 2, 2011, 12:00 PM, Posted by

The University of Kansas last month opened a new medical school campus in the rural town of Salina, to teach students the complexities of rural health care and, university leaders hope, to encourage physicians to practice in small, underserved communities after graduation.

The new school, three hours from the University’s main campus in Kansas City, plans to accept only eight students a year, and has offered it first class free tuition and monthly stipends to study there and start their careers in rural communities. Students will attend virtual classes, with video and podcasts streamed from the school’s other campuses, and will receive training in local doctors’ offices and at the hospital in Salina.

“It just makes sense, and it’s great that it’s been put into practice,” Alan Morgan, the president of the National Rural Health Association, told the New York Times. “From a rural policy perspective, this is big news.”

What do you think? Will going to medical school in a rural setting help encourage physicians to practice there? What other options should medical schools and policy-makers consider to recruit and retain health care providers in rural and underserved communities? Register for a Disqus account below to leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Read more about the Salina medical campus.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.