Established in 2001, the Alberta Rural Family Medicine Network (ARFMN) – a unique collaborative venture of RPAP | Health Workforce for Alberta, the family medicine departments of the universities of Alberta and Calgary, Alberta’s rural physicians and Alberta Health Services – offers dedicated, rural-based family medicine residency training to prepare competent physicians for the broad demands of rural practice.

ARFMN’s two branches, Rural Alberta North (RAN) and Rural Alberta South (RAS), provide resident physicians with an opportunity to train in the environment where they will eventually practice. Resident physicians are taught largely by practicing rural faculty, supported by full-time academic faculty, and use the academic resources of their parent family medicine departments and faculties of medicine. This training leads to eligibility for certification in family medicine with the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

The program builds upon over a decade of RPAP funding, which supports rural undergraduate and family medicine training in specialty blocks, as well as additional skills training offered through the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.

As part of its evaluation framework, RPAP recently undertook a study of its RAN & RAS programs. Having started in 2001, these programs now have sufficient longitudinal data, enabling us to better understand their impact on rural Alberta.

On Monday, RPAP will release the document: “Choosing the Rural Route: The impact of the Alberta Rural Family Medicine Network rural residency program on access to healthcare in rural Alberta”. This study undertaken by the RPAP Research and Analysis department will illustrate how the Alberta Rural Family Medicine Network (ARFMN) continues to have a strong positive impact on the attraction, distribution and retention of physicians for rural practice.

The study will be available for download on the blog on 17 November 2014, and will be distributed via email to RPAP Review subscribers.

Infographics from the report wll also be featured on the RPAP Blog during the coming weeks.


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