There is burgeoning belief that regional medical campuses (RMCs) are a significant part of the narrative about medical education and the health care workforce in the United States and Canada. Although RMCs are not new, in the recent years of medical education enrollment expansion, they have seen their numbers increase. Class expansion explains the rapid growth of RMCs in the past 10 years, but it does not adequately describe their function. Often, RMCs have missions that differ from their main campus, especially in the areas of rural and community medicine. The absence of an easy-to-use classification system has led to a lack of current research about RMCs as evidenced by the small number of articles in the current literature. The authors describe the process of the Group on Regional Medical Campuses used to develop attributes of a campus separate from the main campus that constitute a "classification" of a campus as an RMC. The system is broken into four models-basic science, clinical, longitudinal, and combined-and is linked to Liaison Committee on Medical Education standards. It is applicable to all schools and can be applied by any medical school dean or medical education researcher. The classification system paves the way for stakeholders to agree on a denominator of RMCs and conduct future research about their impact on medical education.
(C) 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges