Purpose: The Marshall University Family Medicine Residency (MUFMR) implemented its rural track (RT) in 1994 to help achieve its mission of producing primary care physicians for practice in rural areas and West Virginia. This study examined the impact of the RT on the program’s training outcomes and assessed the academic equivalence of the RT and traditional track (TT) curricula.
Method: The authors analyzed academic outcomes (in-training examination [ITE] scores, board certification rates) and practice outcomes (location and type following graduation) for the 174 MUFMR graduates who entered the program from 1984 through 2006. They compared RT and TT graduates who entered after RT implementation (1994–2006) with each other and with graduates who entered during the decade before implementation (1984–1993).
Results: There were differences between the 12 RT and 94 TT graduates in rural practice upon graduation (RT: 83% versus TT: 40%; P < .01) and practice in West Virginia (RT 83% versus TT 68%; P = .34). RT and TT graduates had similar mean increases in ITE scores and board certification rates. The 106 post-implementation graduates had a significantly higher rate of West Virginia practice than did the 68 pre-implementation graduates (70% versus 52%; P = .02).
Conclusions: RT development was associated with a substantial increase in MUFMR graduates practicing in West Virginia. RT graduates were more likely than TT graduates to practice in rural areas and in the state upon graduation. RT graduates seem to advance academically as well as their TT counterparts.
Dr. Petrany is professor, Department of Family and Community Health, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Huntington, West Virginia.
Dr. Gress is associate professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Huntington, West Virginia.
First published online April 24, 2013
Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Petrany, Department of Family and Community Health, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, 1500 Medical Center Dr., Huntington, WV 25701; telephone: (304) 691-1165; fax: (304) 691-1153; e-mail: email@example.com.