As future health care professionals, we are concerned about the disparity of care available between rural and urban areas. Increasingly, health care providers and resources are becoming concentrated in the most populous areas of Oregon, leaving rural areas with an alarming shortage.
Medical students have one summer off during their training. For many this is a time to explore projects not covered in the standard curriculum, but which are still important. The Oregon Academy of Family Physicians is a group which is actively working to address the shortage of primary care physicians, particularly in rural areas. The three of us propose to spend our summer biking through much of the far-flung reaches of this fine state, sharing the message of the OAFP and holding an open forum with residents, business leaders, and health care providers in rural areas to discuss potential solutions to this problem, and help guide future policy decisions.