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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 146-155

Clinical medical education in rural and underserved areas and eventual practice outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis

1 3rd Year Medical Student, Mercer University School of Medicine, Columbus, GA, USA
2 2nd Year Psychiatry Resident, Department of Psychiatry, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Ryan William Raymond Guilbault
33 West 11th Street, P.O. Box 870, Columbus, GA 31902-0870
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/efh.EfH_226_16

Background: Undergraduate medical students are enrolled in clinical education programs in rural and underserved urban areas to increase the likelihood that they will eventually practice in those areas and train in a primary care specialty to best serve those patient populations. Methods: MEDLINE and Cochrane Library online databases were searched to identify articles that provide a detailed description of the exposure and outcome of interest. A qualitative review of articles reporting outcome data without comparison or control groups was completed using the Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument (MERSQI). A meta-analysis of articles reporting outcome data with comparison or control groups was completed with statistical and graphical summary estimates. Results: Seven hundred and nine articles were retrieved from the initial search and reviewed based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. Of those, ten articles were identified for qualitative analysis and five articles included control groups and thus were included in the quantitative analysis. Results indicated that medical students with clinical training in underserved areas are almost three times as likely to practice in underserved areas than students who do not train in those areas (relative risk [RR] = 2.94; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.17, 4.00). Furthermore, medical students training in underserved areas are about four times as likely to practice primary care in underserved areas than students who do not train in those locations (RR = 4.35; 95% CI: 1.56, 12.10). Discussion: These estimates may help guide medical school administrators and policymakers to expand underserved clinical training programs to help relieve some of the problems associated with access to medical care among underserved populations.

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