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Managing a Chronic Problem: The Rural Physician Shortage

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Department of Social and Administrative Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine; Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Ann Intern Med. 1980;92(6):852-854. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-92-6-852
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Rural areas, we all know, receive the short end when physicians distribute themselves. This inequity is most severe in the Third World where the population is predominantly rural and poor, but it is seen in virtually every nation (1). In the United States, once but no longer a rural society, the doctor shortage began to become apparent shortly after World War I. A 1925 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reviewing the evidence then available, concluded that a national problem existed and that it could become more serious (2). In the following 15 years the supply of


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