Recruiting and retaining a rural medical workforce: the value of active community participation

Roger P Strasser
Med J Aust 2017; 207 (4): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00502
Published online: 21 August 2017

Overseas experience offers insights into providing sustainable health care for remote communities

In this issue of the MJA, Playford and colleagues report research which found that undergraduate rural clinical school immersion increases the likelihood that students who begin medical school intending to practise in rural areas will actually enter the rural medical workforce after graduation. The authors conclude that: “Rural background, rural intention and rural experience during medical school all need to be factored into programs for redressing deficits in rural workforce levels programs.”1 This report provides evidence that supports recent Australian government initiatives aimed at strengthening the education and training pathway to rural practice.2

  • Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian and Lakehead Universities, Sudbury, ON, Canada


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Playford D, Ngo H, Gupta S, Puddey IB. Opting for rural practice: the influence of medical student origin, intention and immersion experience. Med J Aust 2017; 207: 154-158.
  • 2. Gillespie D. Health Insurance Amendment Bill (National Rural Health Commissioner) Bill 2017. (accessed May 2017).
  • 3. Boelen C, Heck JE. Defining and measuring the social accountability of medical schools. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1995. (accessed May 2017).
  • 4. Tesson G, Hudson G, Strasser R, Hunt D (ed). The making of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine: a case study in medical education. Montreal; McGill Queens University Press, 2009.
  • 5. Strasser R, Worley P, Cristobal F, et al. Putting communities in the driver’s seat: the realities of community engaged medical education. Acad Med 2015; 90: 1466-1470.
  • 6. Strasser R, Hogenbirk JC, Minore B, et al. Transforming health professional education through social accountability: Canada’s Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Med Teach 2013; 35: 490-496.
  • 7. Strasser R. Delivering on social accountability: Canada’s Northern Ontario School of Medicine. The Asia-Pacific Scholar 2016; 1: 1-6.
  • 8. Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014–2020; European Union. Recruit and Retain – Making it work. Updated May 2017. (accessed May 2017).
  • 9. The Network: Towards Unity for Health. World Summit on Social Accountability. 8–12 April 2017, Hammamet, Tunisia. (accessed May 2017).
  • 10. Reeve C, Woolley T, Ross SJ, et al. The impact of socially-accountable health professional education: a systematic review of the literature. Med Teach 2017; 39: 67-73.


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