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Rural Health Information Hub

Rural Project Examples: Recruitment and retention of health professionals

Effective Examples

MU AHEC Summer Community Program
Updated/reviewed March 2021
  • Need: Lack of healthcare providers, specifically physicians, in rural Missouri.
  • Intervention: Rising second-year medical students at University of Missouri's School of Medicine are given the opportunity to participate in a clinical program in a rural community setting.
  • Results: Almost half of the participants from 1996-2010 chose to practice in rural locations upon graduation.

Other Project Examples

Health Profession Rural Summer Immersion Program
Updated/reviewed June 2022
  • Need: To expose medical and physician assistant students to rural healthcare practices and a rural lifestyle.
  • Intervention: A two-week immersion program for second-year students to experience rural healthcare and rural life in Connecticut and New York.
  • Results: In post-program evaluations from 2016 to 2018, 50% of students reported being very likely to practice in a rural setting, compared to just over 10% of students before the program.
Rural Recruitment Reimagined Workshop Presents the "Safe Sites" Model
Updated/reviewed April 2022
  • Need: Strategies to recruit and retain providers to practice in rural settings.
  • Intervention: A traveling one-day workshop was designed to share ideas and firsthand accounts on successful strategies on how to create "Safe Sites" for new recruits.
  • Results: So far, workshops have trained over 185 hospital administrators, board members, and rural hospital recruiters.
Hawai'i Island Family Medicine Residency
Updated/reviewed December 2021
  • Need: Hawai'i is experiencing a huge shortage of family medicine physicians.
  • Intervention: The Hawai'i Island Family Medicine Residency (HIFMR) program uses an interprofessional team-based approach so residents learn how to care for many types of patients in different healthcare settings.
  • Results: Since 2017, HIFMR has graduated a class of 3 to 6 Board-certified family medicine physicians annually. Most graduates have remained in the state to practice medicine; those who have left have entered fellowship programs and plan to return to Hawai'i Island to practice.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy FORWARD NM Pathways to Health Careers
Updated/reviewed November 2021
  • Need: New Mexico's southwestern counties of Hidalgo, Catron, Luna, and Grant have experienced chronic shortages of primary care providers. New Mexico has the oldest physician population in the country.
  • Intervention: A comprehensive workforce pipeline program, including programming for middle and high school students, undergraduate and graduate students, primary care program students, and medical and dental residents.
  • Results: The program reaches over 1,000 school-aged students throughout the service areas and hosts students in a variety of healthcare related programs for rural rotation experiences. It has also gained partnership with the HMS-Family Medicine Residency Program since 2013 and designation as an Area Health Education Center (AHEC) since 2012.
Avera LIGHT
Updated/reviewed March 2021
  • Need: Assistance for urban and rural physicians — as well as other healthcare providers — who are experiencing burnout and other issues associated with well-being.
  • Intervention: As part of its provider well-being focus in its rural and urban facilities, Avera Health system has created a program which attends to physician wellness issues starting with recruitment with continued support through retirement.
  • Results: With increasing engagement due to word of mouth, the program creates a culture of wellness where stigma is decreased and providers are encouraged to be proactive in reaching out for assistance for issues related to their personal and professional well-being.
Prairie Lakes Healthcare System Physician Recruitment Model
Updated/reviewed February 2021
  • Need: Localized specialty and surgery services for residents in rural northeastern South Dakota and western Minnesota.
  • Intervention: Prairie Lakes Healthcare System expanded their services by recruiting specialty physicians and networking with regional community hospitals to increase patient referrals.
  • Results: Patients receive surgery and specialized care closer to home through Prairie Lakes' specialty medical providers and specialty services.
Wisconsin Early Education Shared Service Network
Added November 2019
  • Need: Throughout the state of Wisconsin, childcare services are closing rapidly, with staffing and finance issues as the main causes.
  • Intervention: In Wisconsin's Monroe and Vernon Counties, a collaborative that focuses on addressing key childcare access issues has come up with a creative solution. The Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Network allows childcare providers to pool staff, resources, and services while receiving support for business and educational operations.
  • Results: So far, 6 childcare programs in Monroe and Vernon Counties have joined the Shared Services Network and more are considering. Joining has allowed childcare providers to focus their time, finances, and energy on the children they serve.
Kearny County Hospital's Physician Recruitment Model
Updated/reviewed October 2019
  • Need: Physicians to serve in an increasingly diverse population in rural Kansas.
  • Intervention: Kearny County Hospital changed their recruitment model to include paid time off for doctors and midlevel providers to serve as international service workers, as well as medical school loan forgiveness.
  • Results: Kearny County Hospital has re-opened their services to out-of-county patients and are receiving an increase in applications from medical providers.