Family Physicians in Rural America: Training, Distribution, and Scope of Practice

Duration: approximately minutes

Family physicians are trained to treat patients of all ages and genders, for any clinical condition in any care setting. Consequently, they are the most prevalent physician specialty in rural America. Drs. Peterson and Patterson presented work on the training of family physicians in rural areas, the family physician workforce distribution, and rural/urban differences in scope of practice.


Lars Peterson, MD, PhD

Lars Peterson, MD, PhD is a family physician and health services researcher and current Vice President of Research of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) and an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Kentucky. He is leading team research efforts at the ABFM to understand what family physicians do in practice and how the quality of care they provide can be improved. In particular, elucidating the ways in which Continuing Certification activities may be associated with quality of care. His research interests include investigating associations between area level measures of health care and socioeconomics with both health and access to health care, rural health, primary care, and comprehensiveness of primary care.

Davis Patterson, PhD

Davis Patterson, PhD, is a sociologist and Research Associate Professor in the University of Washington (UW) Department of Family Medicine, Seattle, Washington. He is Director of the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center and the Collaborative for Rural Primary care Research, Education, and Practice (Rural PREP). He is also an investigator in the UW Center for Health Workforce Studies. His research seeks to inform policy and improve rural and under-resourced populations' access to health care, with a focus on the health workforce. His current research includes studies examining trends in rural workforce supply; obstetrics training for family physicians; rural emergency medical services; and provision of home health services to rural patients. He is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Belize) and an avid traveler.

Additional Projects of Interest