"Physicians are not needed in every hamlet, village, or township." This conviction was emphasized as the 24th National Conference on Rural Health met in Atlanta, March 25-26, 1971, to discuss the many aspects of change for rural health in the coming decades. The program, sponsored by the AMA Council on Rural Health, focused on delivery systems, health manpower and the health team concept, community health planning, and effective utilization of health services.
In the keynote address, "Rural Health Care Systems," by Vernon E. Wilson, MD, which appears in this issue of The Journal (p 1623), particularly interesting approaches are suggested to meet the health care needs of the rural population. The health problems of rural America are well known and the causes well documented. Rural areas have limited health facilities and often serious shortages of health manpower. In addition, these areas are often characterized by below-average incomes and considerable poverty.