Strategy to increase agricultural medicine practice: An exploratory study to predict interest among generalists

John R. Wheat, Julia A. Hartman, Tracy M. Carter, Jerry T. McKnight, James D. Leeper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Across the nation, farmers, farmworkers and their families experience an increased risk of death, illness and disability. A major concern is to determine how medical education and the medical profession can realize their potential to benefit the agricultural community. This exploratory study was completed to identify factors that might predict interest in practice of agricultural medicine among primary care physicians. Two hundred seventy-eight Alabama primary care physicians, almost equally distributed as urban and rural, completed a questionnaire that surveyed interest in agromedicine practice, experience regarding 13 agromedicine topics, and other physician characteristics. Through a logistic regression model, interest in agromedicine practice was predicted by a high proportion of practice experience in smaller communities, agromedicine experience through personal hobby or avocation, and through professional literature. These three significant variables correctly predicted a moderate to high level of interest in agromedicine practice in 65% of the physicians in the study. If these results hold up with confirmatory study, the authors recommend that targeted efforts to produce physicians for agricultural medicine should prepare physicians whose backgrounds are rural and whose interests include agricultural and family medicine, thus predicting location and practice relevant to the needs of the agricultural community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


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