Study results show that PSAP graduates, who represent only 1 percent of the graduates from Pennsylvania's seven allopathic medical schools, accounted for 21 percent of family physicians practicing in rural Pennsylvania coming from those schools. Among all national and international medical school graduates, PSAP graduates represented 12 percent of all family physicians in rural Pennsylvania. Results were similar for PSAP graduates practicing in other underserved areas.
Overall, PSAP graduates were eight times more likely than their non-PSAP classmates at Jefferson to practice family medicine in a rural area of the U.S. Program retention was also found to be high, with the number of PSAP graduates currently practicing family medicine in rural and underserved areas of the U.S. equal to approximately 90 percent of the number practicing five to 10 years ago.
"The biggest impact of the PSAP program has been our ability to provide doctors to rural areas that have a limited number of physicians," explains Dr. Rabinowitz. "With more people living in rural Pennsylvania than in any other state in the nation, the medical needs of this population are great and this program has let us meet these needs to a large extent."
Family practice in rural areas truly represents care for the family as a whole with physicians treating each generation. "Family practitioners in rural areas provide general medical care, but also deliver babies and perform minor outpatient surgery," says Dr. Rabinowitz.
Dr. Rabinowitz views the PSAP as a public service program, providing family physicians to rural areas where the demand for good medical care is high and the availability is low.