DESIGN: Descriptive cross-sectional study, implemented through a survey of patients. A survey form and a data collection infrastructure already in place for an established practice-based research program allowed the application of existing resources in the teaching clinic environment.
PARTICIPANTS: Participating clinics included on-campus, off-campus, and outreach teaching clinics of four chiropractic colleges. Recruitment took place by word of mouth; clinic directors volunteered to participate in the 1-week survey. The study population consisted of all patients, new and established and of any age, who came to participating clinics during the week of March 16-21, 1998.
RESULTS: Fourteen participating clinics returned surveys on 1612 patients. The age, sex, and race of patients, and the nature, onset, and duration of their chief complaints were significantly different among the categories of teaching clinics. Salient dissimilarities occurred in racial distribution, types of chief complaint, and duration of chief complaint among the patient populations of different clinics.
CONCLUSION: Different types of teaching clinics may facilitate greater diversity in the patient population seen by chiropractic students, broadening the clinical training of chiropractic students by providing diversity in clinical settings and patient populations.
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