Effects of an expanded medical curriculum on the number of graduates practicing in a rural state

Terry D. Stratton, Jack M. Geller, Richard L. Ludtke, Kevin M. Fickenscher

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33 Scopus citations


In 1973 the University of North Dakota School of Medicine (UNDSM), following the national trend toward four-year medical programs, expanded its previous two-year medical school curriculum to include all four years of medical education. It was hoped that this change, along with a renewed emphasis on primary care-oriented residency training within the state, would encourage medical students to establish practices within the state. In 1985 the UNDSM’s Center for Rural Health mailed questionnaires to the 2,230 living graduates of the UNDSM to document a variety of their personal and practice characteristics. Based on the responses to the 924 completed questionnaires, the authors found that (1) the students from rural North Dakota were more likely than were urban students to practice in rural areas of the state, as were the students with primary care specialty training; and (2) the alumni completing residencies in North Dakota following the curriculum expansion (1976-1985) were more than twice as likely to establish practices in North Dakota. It was concluded that recruiting medical students (preferably in-state “natives”) from rural areas, training them in primary care specialty areas, and enabling them to remain in North Dakota for the duration of their medical training (including residency training) combined to exert a considerable “retaining” effect on the UNDSM alumni.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-105
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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