Rural Primary Care Pipeline

The Road to Rural Primary Care
Factors That Help Develop, Recruit, and Retain Rural Primary Care Physicians

An interdisciplinary team of researchers, public health professionals and physicians conducted a literature review of more than a hundred articles exploring the factors that help cultivate, recruit and retain rural primary care physicians. This narrative review led to the development of a theoretical model that was published in Academic Medicine in January 2018.

The authors found that the development of a rural identity is crucial for attracting and retaining physicians in rural practice. Many factors were found to influence the development of a rural identity including a rural upbringing, positive rural exposure, preparation for rural life and medicine, financial incentives, support with integrating into rural communities, and a good work-life balance.

The review found that attending medical schools and/or residencies with a rural emphasis may reflect, rather than produce, a rural identity. This finding validates UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC’s emphasis on providing rural students with hands-on clinical learning opportunities before and during college to encourage interest in pursuing a healthcare profession and in a rural practice.

The research team included a primary care physician and rural public health professional from MAHEC, research assistants and medical librarians from UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC, and an undergraduate health sciences intern from UNC Asheville.

Read the abstract and full journal article.

Parlier ABGalvin SLThach SKruidenier DFagan EBThe Road to Rural Primary Care: A Narrative Review of Factors That Help Develop, Recruit, and Retain Rural Primary Care Physicians. Acad Med. 2018 Jan;93(1):130-140. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001839. PubMed PMID: 28767498.

Names in bold indicate UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC affiliation.