Annual Physician Recruitment Fair Seeks Rural Docs
Hundreds of medical students and residents are expected at the fourteenth annual Rural Physician Recruitment Fairs to be held in Calgary and Edmonton this week. The Edmonton Fair will be held 18 September 2007 at the Conference Centre in U of A’s Lister Hall. The Calgary Fair will take place 20 September in Atrium of the U of C’s Health Research Innovation Centre (adjacent to the Foothills Medical Centre). Both fairs run from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Hosted by The Alberta Rural Physician Action Plan (RPAP), the Fairs bring together medical students and medical residents with Alberta’s nine Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) and their partner rural communities, the Alberta Medical Association’s Physician Locum Program and other organizations seeking doctors for their rural or regional communities. Fair participants have an opportunity to explore rural training and practice opportunities by meeting with rural physicians, RHAs and community representatives from across the province. Past fairs have been successful in assisting rural communities to promote rural medical practice as an exciting opportunity for many medical students and residents, helping them to make later practice location decisions. The Alberta Government established RPAP in late 1991 as a province-wide, comprehensive and integrated physician workforce agency for the education, recruitment and retention of rural practitioners. The RPAP offers an extensive menu of interlocking initiatives targeted to: students (rural high school, medical school students and residents); practising rural physicians and their families; and health regions and their rural communities. It focuses on the professional, community/lifestyle and family factors that influence recruitment and retention, and uses an “education pipeline” strategy. The “education pipeline” starts in rural high school with outreach programming, moves on to include undergraduate (medical school) experiences in rural medicine with extensive financial support and postgraduate (residency) rural medical training. It involves the recruitment of rural physicians by supporting the efforts of the RHAs and rural communities, and concludes with retention through the development of rural preceptors and spousal/family programming. More information about the RPAP and its initiatives is available from its web site: www.rpap.ab.ca.