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Education and Training of the Rural Healthcare Workforce – Models and Innovations

These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas and provide lessons others have learned. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.

Effective Examples

OHSU Rural Surgery Training
Updated/reviewed August 2021
  • Need: General surgeons are needed in rural communities.
  • Intervention: Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is sending residents to complete a general surgery rotation in rural southern Oregon.
  • Results: 38% of the graduates of the rural residency program are now practicing in a rural setting. The residents remain more likely than other OHSU residents to enter general surgery practice and to serve in a community of fewer than 50,000 people.
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.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Appalachian Preceptorship Program
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: To prepare future physicians for practicing in rural southern Appalachia.
  • Intervention: The Appalachian Preceptorship Program offers medical students clinical preceptorships to give them experience practicing in rural, underserved communities of southern Appalachia.
  • Results: Students who participate in this preceptorship are more than 3 times as likely to practice medicine in a rural location.

Promising Examples

funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Learning Exchange Reverse Demonstration (LERD) Model
Updated/reviewed July 2021
  • Need: To make it easier for rural nurses to continue their education by decreasing the need to travel.
  • Intervention: An innovative, online health assessment course used telehealth to allow rural RN-BSN students to demonstrate skills acquisition.
  • Results: Rural participants had similar learning outcomes to those participating in the onsite version of the course, with fewer travel costs, less time away from work, and higher overall satisfaction.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Rural and Underserved APRN Project
Updated/reviewed July 2021
  • Need: To reduce the primary care provider shortage in rural Colorado.
  • Intervention: A "grow your own" initiative in Colorado recruited rural registered nurses and trained them to become advanced practice RNs.
  • Results: 81 RNs participated in the Rural and Underserved APRN Project.
Successfully Training and Educating Pre-medical Students (STEPS)
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • Need: To increase the number of primary care providers in northeast Kentucky.
  • Intervention: STEPS provides support such as physician shadowing, mock interviews, and MCAT practice exams for regional students applying to medical school.
  • Results: Approximately 70% of participants have been accepted into medical school. The program has been replicated among all of Kentucky's regional AHECs.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy TUSM-MMC Program Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship
Updated/reviewed April 2019
  • Need: To fill vacant medical positions in Maine's rural medical facilities.
  • Intervention: The Tufts Maine Track LIC program offers clerkships in rural medical facilities, exposing medical school students to the positives and possibilities that rural practices have to offer.
  • Results: The program has seen an increase in students' interest to practice in rural Maine. The majority have pursued medical careers in one of the 6 core specialties studied during their clerkship.

Other Project Examples

Wisconsin Collaborative for Rural Graduate Medical Education
Updated/reviewed September 2021
  • Need: Family physicians in the rural areas of Wisconsin.
  • Intervention: A collaborative was created that provides leadership, technical assistance, and training for expanding rural graduate medical education in Wisconsin.
  • Results: The collaborative expanded rural graduate medical education rotations, residencies, and fellowship opportunities for training rural family physicians in Wisconsin.
Health Profession Rural Summer Immersion Program
Updated/reviewed June 2021
  • 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.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Pacific AIDS Education and Training Center-Nevada
Updated/reviewed January 2021
  • Need: To improve and increase prevention and care services for HIV, STDs, hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases.
  • Intervention: PAETC-NV provides clinical and didactic trainings, conferences, technical assistance, capacity building, webinars, and other services to providers and healthcare organizations statewide.
  • Results: In fiscal year 2018, PAETC-NV provided over 1,300 hours in 38 trainings for more than 800 healthcare providers throughout Nevada.

Last Updated: 9/29/2021