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In 1969 a program was established to place physicians in area of Ontario deemed to be medically underserviced. The main features of the program are area designation, physician subsidies, student bursaries, community participation and physician recruitment. From 1969 to March 1973, 162 communities were designated as underserviced and 196 physicians placed. As the program became active the rate of increase of numbers of physicians practising in northern rural areas (population, less than 15 000) increased sharply, exceeding that for the entire province. Fifty-three percent of bursaried students have honoured their commitment. Seventy-five communities have built modern medical centres that have been an important factor in attracting physicians. Still unanswered are whether the physicians will stay and whether the health of the population will be improved.