Physician shortages and maldistribution, particularly within family medicine, have led many medical schools worldwide to create regional medical campuses (RMCs) for clerkship training. However, Canadian medical schools have developed a number of RMCs in which all years of training (i.e., a combined model that includes both preclerkship and clinical training) are provided geographically separate from the main campus. This study addresses the question: Are combined model RMC graduates more likely to enter postgraduate training in family medicine and rural-focused programs relative to main campus graduates?
The authors used a quasi-experimental research design and analyzed 2006–2016 data from the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). Graduating students (N = 26,525) from 16 Canadian medical schools who applied for the CaRMS match in their year of medical school graduation were eligible for inclusion. The proportions of graduates who matched to postgraduate training in (1) family medicine and (2) rural-focused programs were compared for combined model RMCs and main campuses.
Of RMC graduates, 48.4% matched to family medicine (95% confidence interval [CI] = 46.1–50.7) compared with 37.1% of main campus graduates (95% CI = 36.5–37.7; P < .001). Of RMC graduates, 23.9% matched to rural-focused training programs (95% CI = 21.8–25.9) compared with 10.4% of main campus graduates (95% CI = 10.0–10.8; P < .001). Subanalyses ruled out a variety of potentially confounding variables.
Combined model RMCs, in which all years of training take place away from the medical school’s main campus, are associated with greater proportions of medical students entering family medicine postgraduate training and rural-focused training programs. These findings should encourage policymakers, health services agencies, and medical schools to continue seeking complements to academic medical center-based medical education.