Want docs to treat the underserved? Make sure they train at community health centers

Apr 01, 2008

University of Washington researchers have found that community health center-trained family physicians were more likely to work in underserved settings than their non-community health center-trained counterparts (64 percent versus 37 percent), based on a study published in the April issue of Family Medicine.

The news comes on the heels of last month’s announcement from the National Resident Matching Program that there is an increased interest in family medicine and more residency positions in that field available across the United States. In addition, the need for family physicians is expected to skyrocket by 2020 to nearly 140,000 family docs, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Scant research has been conducted in the family medicine residency-community health center (CHC) realm, despite an affiliation that dates back more than 25 years. CHCs are federally funded primary care clinics that provide care for underinsured and uninsured patients.

Dr. Carl Morris, assistant professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Family Medicine, and the study’s lead author, said he was not surprised by the findings. Morris trained as a medical resident from 1994 to 1997 at Sea Mar Community Health Center in Seattle. “These residencies help students match a mission-driven interest with professional aspirations,” Morris said. “As a resident, I was inspired by the role models I trained with, and my training helped me better understand the service mission of community health centers.” Morris had a strong desire to provide health-care services to those who needed them most, and he said that his residency provided him with on-the-ground skills to do just that.

With a continued increase in the numbers of uninsured, the recent economic downturn and the anticipated doubling in numbers of physicians needed in CHCs, the UW study results suggest one strategy to bring more health providers to underserved areas is by ensuring there are residency programs based in those centers.

Morris and Drs. Brian Johnson, Sara Kim and Frederick Chen conducted a cross-sectional survey of the 838 graduates from the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) Family Medicine Residency network from 1986 to 2002 to reach their conclusion. Because there are no national data to identify either the number of family medicine residencies affiliated with CHCs or the number of residents training with them, more research is needed to better understand the relationship, researchers cautioned.

Source: University of Washington

Explore further: Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Golden retriever study sniffs for cancer clues

Sep 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—Michael Court is a scientist and a dog lover, so he jumped at the chance to enroll his golden retriever in a nationwide study aimed at fighting cancer and other ills in canines.

Study documents cigarette environmental hazards

Sep 06, 2013

Back in the bad old days when teenagers smoked cigarettes to be cool, it wasn't unusual for a teenage girl to surreptitiously pocket a cigarette butt left behind by a boy she had a crush on.

Heat-detecting molecules steer vampires to blood

Aug 03, 2011

Scientists have known for years that when vampire bats tear through an animal's skin with their razor-sharp teeth, their noses guide them to the best spots – where a precise bite will strike a vein and ...

Recommended for you

Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies

Nov 25, 2014

Dr. Denham Harman, a renowned scientist who developed the most widely accepted theory on aging that's now used to study cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses, has died in Nebraska at age 98.

Mexican boy who had massive tumor recovering

Nov 25, 2014

An 11-year-old Mexican boy who had pieces of a massive tumor removed and who drew international attention after U.S. officials helped him get treatment in the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico is still recovering after ...

New medical device to make the mines safer

Nov 21, 2014

Dehydration can be a serious health issue for Australia's mining industry, but a new product to be developed with input from Flinders University's Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) is set to more effectively ...

US family gets $6.75 million in Botox case

Nov 20, 2014

A New York couple who said Botox treatment of their son's cerebral palsy left him with life-threatening complications and sued its manufacturer won a $6.75 million verdict from a federal jury on Thursday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.