The Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine (BSOM) has received a $750,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the development of a new rural Family Medicine residency program in Greenville.
The program will be a collaboration between Family Health Services of Darke County, Wayne HealthCare, Premier Health and BSOM. Co-directors of the grant are Lori Martensen, director of the BSOM Wright Rural Medical Scholars Program, and Peter Reynolds, M.D., director of the BSOM family medicine residency program.
HRSA awarded funding to 11 programs nationally, with the BSOM program being the only awardee in Ohio.
The goal of the residency program is to train family medicine physicians who will go on to establish their medical practice in rural Ohio, where health systems struggle to find enough physicians to meet their communities’ needs. The program will be located at Family Health Services of Darke County, where residents will see patients. Residents will complete hospital rotations at Wayne HealthCare.
“The four partners, Family Health Services of Darke County, Premier Health, Wayne HealthCare and BSOM, have a long history of collaboration, and all are committed to meeting the health care needs of the Miami Valley,” Martensen said. “This residency program shows the dedication these systems have to the citizens in rural communities. Through the BSOM Wright Rural Medical Scholars program, we have learned that there are medical students committed to rural medicine and want their training to happen in rural communities as much as possible. A program in Greenville will allow these students to continue their rural focus through residency.”
The program will give physicians the opportunity to experience living and practicing medicine in rural western Ohio. Greenville was selected as the site for the residency program because of its excellent training facilities and providers, opportunities for robust interprofessional educational experiences, and the great need for physicians in Darke County, where the city of Greenville is located.
HRSA has designated Darke County as a Health Professionals Shortage Area for primary care and mental health, and as a medically underserved area. Greenville has the added advantage of being less than a one-hour drive from the BSOM family medicine residency site in Dayton, at Five Rivers Health Center.
“The Wright State University Family Medicine Residency Program is thrilled to partner with our medical colleagues in Greenville, to help develop their future family physician workforce. For nearly 50 years, we have excelled in training family physicians to serve our nearby urban and suburban communities. We are equally proud to have many graduates who currently serve in rural communities, and this formal collaboration is an exciting next step in advancing that complementary role,” said Reynolds.
The new residency program will be a 1+2 rural training track, meaning the first year of training is at an urban medical facility and the last two years at a rural facility. The BSOM program will be the only 1+2 rural training track in Ohio.
“The 1+2 model gives residents the best of both worlds; they have rotations in the first year that are more robust in urban areas, such as inpatient pediatrics, while still completing the majority of their training in a rural community. For the BSOM program, the first year will be in Dayton with other residents in BSOM’s Family Medicine Residency Program, and years two and three will be in Greenville,” Martensen said.
Nationally, graduates of 1+2 programs go on to practice medicine in a rural community at a rate of two-to-three times that of graduates of non-rural programs, leading rural medicine experts to believe it is the most successful model for growing the rural physician workforce.
Carlos Menendez, M.D., medical director at Family Health Services of Darke County, who will serve as the residency program’s director, said: “These new clinicians will be getting an invaluable exposure to a rural practice. They will see the different problems a rural patient population experiences, with illnesses and injuries related to farm life and rural living. We have a well-established practice, so their patient load will be stable and ensure continuity of care. We have a wonderful hospital, Wayne HealthCare, where they will develop their in-patient skills. They will get to see what a rural community health center has to offer by utilizing comprehensive health services, which include dental, vision, and behavioral health, collaborating with doctoral-level pharmacists, and our health partners, including Hospice, Comprehensive Health Network, Wayne Rehabilitation, and the Cancer Association of Darke County, to name a few. The community will benefit from the influx of these professionals and their families. They will be dining, shopping, and spending time enjoying our arts venues, parks and recreational activities. Ultimately, we hope some will choose to stay to continue their professional careers. We can’t wait to begin the new chapter of our teaching experience.”