To the Editor: The discipline of family medicine
was created in the 1970s, in part, as a way to address the chronic shortage
of US rural physicians.1 It was predicted
that the new discipline would augment the supply of rural clinicians because
family physicians are much more likely than other physicians to settle in
There is also empirical evidence that training family physicians in
rural areas increases the likelihood that residency graduates will choose
to settle in rural places.3- 6
However, the exact proportion of family medicine residency programs located
in truly rural parts of the United States remains unknown, as does the extent
to which training rural physicians is a priority of existing family medicine
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