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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 145-149

Defining rural teaching hospitals in Canada: Developing and testing a new definition


1 Departments of Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
2 Department of Anesthesia, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
3 Distributed Learning and Rural Initiatives, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
4 Division of Community Engagement; Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Correspondence Address:
MD Aaron Johnston
Departments of Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary
Canada
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/CJRM.CJRM_21_20

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Introduction: The current definition of 'teaching hospital' provided by Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) focuses on large academic teaching hospitals. High-quality rural training experiences have been identified as a key component of training the future rural medical workforce. Identifying communities and hospitals where this training is currently available and taking place is important in understanding the current landscape of available rural training but is hampered by the lack of an agreed upon definition of 'rural teaching hospital'. This limits the understanding of current rural training landscapes, comparison across regions and research in this area. We propose a definition of a 'rural teaching hospital'. Methods: Using the CIHI definition of rural as an initial reference point, we used accessible data from the University of Calgary and University of Alberta Distributed Medical Education (DME) programs to develop a definition of a 'rural teaching hospital'. We then identified rural Alberta hospitals to show how this definition would work in practice. Results: Our definition of a rural teaching hospital is a hospital situated in a town of <30,000 people, teaching occurs at least 36 h a week and that teaching includes at least Family Medicine clerkship OR Family Medicine residency rotations. We identified 104 Alberta rural hospitals. The University of Calgary and University of Alberta DME programs included 70 communities and 44 of these communities met all three proposed criteria for rural teaching hospitals. Conclusion: Creating a working definition of a 'rural teaching hospital' is of high importance for both research and for day-to-day operations of rural educational units.


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