Get Out to the Countryside during Medical Education
Eine Übersicht zu bestehenden und geplanten allgemeinmedizinischen Förderangebotengerman translation / full article
An Overview of all Established and Proposed Rural Medical Programs
Background: Primary health care in Germany is having enormous problems recruiting young doctors. The United States and Australia, who are facing similar problems, have developed physician shortage area programs as a countermeasure. These promote primary health care in rural areas during medical education. In Germany, several initiatives dealing with the same topic have evolved. However, no overview of established and proposed rural medical programs currently exists.
Methods: An overview outlining all established and proposed rural medical programs at German medical faculties was developed by searching websites and conducting expert discussions by telephone. For this purpose, all 37 institutes of family medicine in Germany were contacted.
Results: 31 institutes participated in the study (83,8 %). 13 rural medical programs were identified at 12 faculties. Three of them are longitudinal, meaning they last at least two semesters. In most cases, the courses are restricted and are only designed for a small number of students per year or program. The number of programs has increased steadily over the past years.
Conclusions: The importance of promoting primary health care in rural areas during undergraduate medical education increases. Start, duration and design of the identified programs vary considerably. All in all, they are not as intensive as the well-established programs in other countries. Evaluations of the programs are required to show which of them have had a positive influence on the number of family practitioners in rural areas. All universities interested in the topic can use the overview as a source of orientation and encouragement to get in contact with each other.