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ABSTRACT:

This paper examines programs used in the Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia to recruit and retain physicians in rural areas. The provinces have many similarities but have unique characteristics that have shaped recruitment methods. The total number of physicians in each province has grown at a faster rate than the population. Each has problems attracting physicians to underserved areas, although the magnitude of the problems vary. The data for this paper were gathered from documents available from various agencies in each province and a series of personal interviews conducted in the spring of 1993. The provinces have chosen different avenues in attempting to solve the maldistribution of physician resources, ranging from regulatory methods in New Brunswick to moves in Newfoundland to encourage graduates of the province's medical school to locate in the rural areas and lessen the dependence on foreign medical graduates. Nova Scotia, with fewer areas needing physicians, has been able to focus its efforts on selected locations. Reviewing the methods used in the three provinces provides an insight into the attempts to solve the shortage of physicians in rural areas.