Decentralized medical education in rural communities: the circuit rider connection. Academic Article uri icon


  • Successful community-based medical education requires an ongoing relationship among the school, medical students, and community preceptors. The use of medical school faculty as "circuit riders" helps to develop and maintain these relationships. We studied the benefits, challenges, and barriers as seen by faculty participating in circuit riding activities at the University of New Mexico.All 43 faculty circuit riders from the most recent academic year were asked to complete an anonymous electronic survey. Ranked responses and free text comments were included. Analysis of ranked items by years as university faculty and years of experience circuit riding was performed.Commonly cited reasons for faculty participation in circuit riding included (1) enjoyment of working with medical students, (2) support for rural/community-based education, and (3) interactions with community preceptors. Barriers primarily related to time included (1) difficulty getting time away from clinical activities and (2) coordinating the faculty members', community preceptors', and students' schedules.For faculty circuit riders, commitment to medical student education in the community is the most common reason for participation in this program. Schools using this model will need to address the time commitment involved.

publication date

  • May 2008