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01.12.2014 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

Asia Pacific Family Medicine 1/2014

What primary care physician teachers need to sustain community based education in Japan

Asia Pacific Family Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2014
Manabu Murakami, Hidenobu Kawabata, Masaji Maezawa
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1447-056X-13-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

This survey was partially supported by the Pfizer Health Research Foundation.

Authors’ contributions

MMu designed the study. In the first stage, MMu and HK conducted interviews, and analysed preliminary data. MMa, the senior researcher, supervised all analyses, and all three authors discussed, revised, and approved the final result. In the second stage, all three authors cooperated closely in the planning of the workshop. MMu is the guarantor of this manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Community based education (CBE), defined as “a means of achieving educational relevance to community needs and, consequently, of implementing a community oriented educational program,” is reported to be useful for producing rural physicians in Western countries. However, why some physicians withdraw from their teaching roles is not well known, especially in Asian countries. The aim of this study was to clarify the requisites and obstacles for taking part in CBE.


We combined two steps: preliminary semi-structured interviews followed by workshop discussions. First of all, we interviewed four designated physicians (all male, mean age 48 years) working in one rural area of Japan, with less than 10,000 residents. Secondly, we held a workshop at the academic conference of the Japan Primary Care Association. Fourteen participants attending the workshop (seven male physicians, mean age 45 years, and seven medical students (one female and six male), mean age 24 years) were divided into two groups and their opinions were summarized.


In the first stage, we extracted three common needs from interviewees; 1. Sustained significant human relationships; 2. Intrinsic motivation; and 3. Tangible rewards. In the second stage, we summarized three major problems from three different standpoints; A. Preceptors’ issues: more educational knowledge or skills, B. Learner issues: role models in rural areas, and C. System issues: supportive educational system for raising rural physicians.


Our research findings revealed that community physicians require non-monetary support or intrinsic motivation for their CBE activities, which is in accordance with previous Western studies. In addition, we found that system support, as well as personal support, is required. Complementary questionnaire surveys in other Asian countries will be needed to validate our results.
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