Public Policies to Promote Community-based and Interdisciplinary Health Professions Education


Janet M. Coffman, Tim Henderson, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health

Apr 2000

CONTEXT: Many rural and inner-city communities in the United States have persistent shortages of health professionals. In addition, health services are increasingly delivered in community-based settings by interdisciplinary teams. Yet, health professions students in the US continue to receive most of their training in urban hospitals.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the extent to which national and state government programs in the US that fund health professions education provide financial resources for community-based and interdisciplinary education in the health professions.

METHODS: Literature review.

FINDINGS: Most national and state government funding provided to health professions schools and clinical training sites in the US is not targeted to community-based and interdisciplinary education. Nationally, the Bureau of Health Professions, however, does administer some targeted grant programs. In addition, a number of states are addressing these needs through targeted appropriations to health professions schools and Medicaid payments to clinical training sites.

RECOMMENDATIONS: The US experience with government funding of health professions education suggests several questions that policymakers in other nations should consider and several principles for developing effective policies to promote community-based and interdisciplinary education.