There is an enormous need for more physicians in rural regions of the United States; shortages of doctors exist throughout every rural area of the country. There are efforts to increase the number of doctors in these shortage areas through programs like the National Health Service Corps, which provides scholarships to medical students in exchange for their future service in high-need areas. There are also organizations that seek to expand the number of physicians in underserved regions of the country, such as the National Area Health Education Center and regional AHECs, such as the one in North Carolina.
For students interested in rural medicine they may want to choose a school based on its excellence in this type of medicine. US News publishes a ranking of medical schools’ rural medicine programs.
Dr. Neil Nelson was named Country Doctor of the Year and practices medicine in rural Illinois. Becoming a country doctor was his dream; in the article he shares some of the challenges and rewards he has found as a rural physician. Dr. Janice Boughton also shares her insights into practicing rural medicine, describing her experiences as a physician in Haiti, Sudan, Mexico.
–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting