This study describes characteristics of rurally
oriented family medicine (FM) obstetrical (OB)
fellowships and challenges these programs face in
providing OB training. Researchers identified and
surveyed 21 rurally oriented FM OB fellowships that
either (1) served a predominately rural catchment area,
(2) mentioned requiring rural training, (3) specified
training physicians for rural practice in their mission,
or (4) prioritized applicants who intended future rural
practice. None of these programs were rurally located
according to Rural-Urban Commuting Area codes.
- All 13 survey respondents (62% response rate)
reported a mission to train family physicians for rural
practice, yet less than one-third (n=4, 31%) reported
their fellowship programs required rural training.
- Nearly all fellowships reported training graduates to
provide prenatal and delivery care, including vaginal
deliveries, C-sections, gynecology procedures, and OB
- The most frequently reported major challenges to
providing rural OB training were community factors that
included competition with other OB providers (n=4, 31%),
declining OB patient populations (n=4, 31%), and lack of
community awareness of family physicians' scope of
practice (n=3, 23%).