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[Research] Success of university programs to promote rural healthcare in Japan

Researchers confirm university programs encourage physicians to work in rural areas

An ambitious health economics study from a consortium of 5 Japanese universities has shown that different university programs to promote the equal geographic distribution of physicians increases the number of graduates practicing in rural areas in Japan. Graduates from these programs were on average 24% more likely to work in non-metropolitan areas than those not involved these programs.

Access to healthcare in rural or low-population areas is a problem that affects countries worldwide, not limited only to developing nations. Many developed nations have an aging population, which in countries like Japan and Germany, is putting pressure on their healthcare systems and services for both rural and urban populations. Ease of access to healthcare in rural communities is an important global challenge that must be tackled and is one of the priorities of the World Health Organization (WHO).


Regional quota students of the School of Medicine, Hiroshima University measure the blood pressure of elderly patients in Akiota Hospital, a rural hospital in Hiroshima prefecture. The exercise, overseen by the Director of the Hospital is a rural-dispatch clinical training session for regional quota students.

Full bibliographic information

  • Journal: Academic Medicine
  • Title: Geographic distribution of regional quota graduates of Japanese medical schools: a nationwide cohort study
  • Authors: Masatoshi Matsumoto, Saori Kashima, Tetsuhiro Owaki, Seitaro Iguchi, Kazuo Inoue, Susumu Tazuma and Takahiro Maeda
  • DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002688
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