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Cristy Page, MD, MPH

A national team led by Cristy Page, MD, MPH, Chair of UNC Family Medicine has been awarded $2.4 million of funding in a cooperative agreement by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.  The funding will support the development of a national technical assistance center that will engage with HRSA Rural Residency Planning and Development (RRPD) Program awardees to help them develop new, accredited residency programs in family medicine, general internal medicine and psychiatry in rural communities in the United States.

“Research has consistently demonstrated that physicians tend to practice in geographic areas similar to those where they complete their residency training.  This is an incredible opportunity to strengthen the residency-to-rural-practice pipeline and increase access to quality primary care across the country,” said Page.

The consortium will be led by Page at UNC Family Medicine; Erin Fraher, PhD, (Co-PI) and Mark Holmes, MD, MPH, at The Cecil G. Sheps Center; Nevin Fouts of NC AHEC, Frederick Chen, MD, MPH, of WWAMI;  and Randy Longenecker, MD, of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and the RTT Collaborative.

“The vast majority of residency training occurs in urban areas. This funding will provide rural residency programs with the technical support needed to develop training programs to address rural workforce needs,” said Page.

Consortium organizations are spread across the United States and have a 40-year track record of providing technical assistance to help rural residency programs to achieve accreditation; navigate the complex intricacies of Medicare and Medicaid funding; conduct health workforce needs assessments; perform program evaluations to ensure activities funded under the cooperative agreement are evaluated and continuously improved upon; and assess whether residency programs are producing the workforce needed for the diverse and growing health care needs of rural communities.

Erin Fraher, PhD

“There is a well-known need for health care and health care improvements in rural America. Over 24 million citizens live in an area without enough primary care physicians.  Our consortium members are passionate about addressing these issues, and most have dedicated their careers to addressing these disparities. This funding demonstrates that we are the leaders in shaping rural health policy and GME at a national level” said Page.