Distribution and Retention of General Surgeons in Rural Areas of the U.S.

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project completed:
August 2003
Access to surgical services in rural areas is limited compared to that in more urban areas. In addition, interest of graduating U.S. medical students in general surgery residencies appears to be declining. This worsening crisis in rural surgery is of particular concern given the critical roles that general surgeons play in providing a wide spectrum of clinical services in rural hospitals and trauma systems, as well as their close relationship with rural family practitioners, for whom they provide crucial backup. The aims of this study are to examine secular trends in the distribution of general surgeons in rural areas of the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) region, selected southeastern states, and nationally between 1990 and 2002, and to examine the current (2002) distribution of general surgeons in rural areas of the nation.


  • Characterizing the General Surgery Workforce in Rural America
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2004
    General surgeons form a crucial component of the medical workforce in rural areas of the United States. Analysis of the data suggests that the general surgical workforce has not kept pace with the rising population, and that the number of general surgeons in most rural areas of the United States will decline further.