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Curriculum Factors Predicting Family Medicine Specialty Choice: An Exploratory Study Among Rural Medical Scholars


Family medicine is central to medical education strategies that produce rural physicians. In 1996, the Rural Medical Scholars
Program was created to produce rural family physicians in Alabama. The literature suggests that curriculum can play a supporting role with special admissions in the production of rural family physicians. This study seeks to determine if curriculum factors were associated with family medicine specialty choice among Rural Medical Scholars. A questionnaire was sent to 112 students who had completed the Rural Medical Scholars Program and had either entered or completed residency. Eighty responded to the survey. Several curriculum factors are associated with choosing family medicine specialty among medical students in the Rural Medical Scholars Program; i.e., positive attitudes toward Family Medicine by clinical faculty in  OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Neurology, and viewing Family Medicine faculty, Family Medicine residents, and community-based family physician preceptors as stronger than other faculty in terms of being clinicians, teachers, and mentors.