MU researchers examine shortage of rural doctors

Saturday, September 11, 2010 | 4:03 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Researchers at the University of Missouri want to understand what might draw doctors to work in rural areas.

Kathleen Quinn, director of Missouri's Area Health Education Center, and Michael Hosokawa, professor of family and community medicine at the university, conducted 15 interviews with Missouri alumni who practice in small communities for a paper in the Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the results showed that some appreciate a less hectic pace that allows them to sit down and engage with patients and educate them about their illnesses.

Nationwide, 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, but only 9 percent of doctors practice there. A recent survey of graduating medical school students showed that only 3 percent of outgoing medical school graduates planned to practice in rural areas.

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