Background: Despite an increased need, residents of rural communities have decreased access to healthcare and oftenpresentuniquehealthcare challenges associated with their rurality. Ensuring medical students receive adequate exposure to these issues is complicated by the urban location of most medical schools. Health fairs (fairs) conducted in rural communities can provide students exposure to ruralhealth;however, it is unknown how participation affects attitudes regarding these issues. Methods: During the 2010-2011 academic year, first-year medical students were surveyed before and after participating in a rural fair regarding the importance of rural health issues, the need for exposure to rural healthcare, their plans to practice in a rural community,andthe educational impact of fairs. Results: Of the 121participating students, 77% and 61% completed pre- and post-fair surveys, respectively. Few had lived in a rural area or planned to practice primary care. Participants strongly agreed that the delivery of healthcare in rural areas was important, and that all physicians should receive rural health training (4.8 and 3.7 out of 5, respectively) despite less than halfplanning to practice in a rural community.After participating in a rural fair, student attitudes were unchanged, although 87% of participants strongly agreed their involvement had contributed to improving patient health and 70% that the fairs provided rural medicine experience. Conclusions: Among urban medical school students with varied interests in primary care, there was strong interest in volunteering at rural fairs and appreciation for the importance of rural health. Fairs provided interested students with rural medicine experience that reinforced student attitudes regarding rural health. Further, students felt their participation improved patient health.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Research in Medical Sciences|
|State||Published - 2012|
- Preventive health services
- Rural health services
ASJC Scopus subject areas