Recruiting doctors from and for underserved groups: Does New Brunswick’s initiative to recruit doctors for its linguistic minority help rural communities?
Beauchamp, Jacinthe; Bélanger, Mathieu; Schofield, Aurel; Bordage, Rachel; Donovan, Denise; Landry, Michel
SubjectMedically underserved area
Abstract: Objectives: Within health care, there are underserved groups such as New Brunswick’s French-speaking minority, which also mostly lives in rural communities. A physician shortage potentially prevents this population from accessing health promotion and clinical prevention services. This study analyzes whether francophone doctors with rural backgrounds are more likely than doctors from urban regions to set up practice in rural communities of the province. Methods: A questionnaire was sent to 390 New Brunswick francophone physicians admitted in medicine between 1973 and 2000. It collected information on geographic origin and history of medical practice. Multivariate logistic regressions were used to identify whether a rural background is associated with the likelihood of ever and currently practicing in rural communities. We used the General Practice Rurality Index-simplified to quantify the rurality level of communities. Results: In total, 263 (67%) physicians participated. A rural background was positively associated with the establishment of a first medical practice in a rural community. This relationship was only significant among family physicians. There was no statistically significant relationship between rurality of community of origin and rurality of current community of practice among either of family or specialty physicians. Conclusion: Although francophone doctors with a rural background were more likely than their urban counterparts to set up their first practice in a rural community, this effect was not sustained. This raises questions as to why they leave rural communities and highlights the importance of measures to retain doctors as a way to promote public health for underserved rural groups.
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