Guidebook

We are very excited to launch the WONCA Rural Medical Education Guidebook at the 12th WONCA World Rural Health Conference, Gramado, Brazil, in April 2014.\r\nThe project has been proudly supported by WONCA through the WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), and the Rockefeller Foundation.\r\n\r\nConsisting of 71 chapters written by 74 authors, it represents a unique collaboration, with contributions from every continent. It is intended to be a free resource for doctors, educators and others wanting to obtain practical ideas on implementing aspects of rural medical education and to learn from the experience of colleagues in different contexts.\r\n\r\n

1.1.2 · Integrating public health and medicine

Public health refers to ‘all organised methods … to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole’ (1). It is responsible for many of the major improvements in the health of populations and individuals. Quarantine, which has been in use for hundreds of years, was a major advance in the control of communicable disease long before the idea of microbes was introduced. When John Snow removed the handle of the broad street pump, he showed the way to prevent waterborne disease and reduce outbreaks.

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1.1.1 · What brings us together: The values and principles of rural medicine education

Rural practitioners all over the world share a range of experiences, systems and practice in a variety of circumstances that are determined by the rural environment. These lead to a set of principles and values that are also shared, but they are implicit and are not often made explicit. This chapter aims to make these more visible, not in order that they be accepted, so much as to offer them for discussion and debate as a prelude to the rest of this guidebook.\r\n\r\nWhat is it that brings us together as rural health practitioners and medical educators? Is it more than the rural environment? Is it the kind of challenges that we face that are similar? Is it the health systems that we work in? Or is it the kind of work that we do, or the education we received? Maybe it is just the sort of people we are as rural practitioners. It could be the values that we share – those softer ideas that are not often shared clearly out loud, but which are nevertheless very significant.

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