Federal Administration Invests $11 Million to Expand Medical Residencies in Rural Communities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded more than $11 million to 15 organizations to establish new residency programs in rural communities. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden announced the new awards while visiting rural health clinic in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin today. Building on HRSA’s Enhancing Maternal Health Initiative, one program will create the first obstetrics and gynecology Rural Track Program in the country, and six others will develop new family medicine residency programs with enhanced obstetrical training in rural communities.

“Every American should have access to high-quality health care no matter where they live. That is why HHS is investing in programs that improve and expand access in geographic areas that have historically been underserved,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Training more doctors in our country’s rural areas is a proven strategy to recruit and retain doctors to serve rural communities. By funding new residency programs focused on OB-GYN training, we can help eliminate maternal care deserts, an important step in making pregnancy and childbirth safer.

“Rural communities need physicians, and the Health Resources and Services Administration is committed to helping build this workforce through steps like our work to create rural residency programs,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “This funding will help build pathways for rural students to become doctors and help rural communities recruit and train more doctors. We are particularly pleased to support new programs aimed at training new physicians to care for pregnant women.”

Retaining and recruiting physicians in underserved and rural areas is a critical priority of the Biden-Harris Administration. These awards build on nearly $54 million that HRSA has invested in the Rural Residency Planning and Development Program (RRPD) since 2019. Past recipients of RRPD awards have created 46 accredited rural residency programs and have been approved to train 575 resident physicians overall. In this year’s 2024 Residency Match, RRPD-created residency programs matched 158 new residents who will start training this summer.

Award recipients will each receive up to $750,000 over three years to establish new rural residency programs. They will use this funding to support accreditation costs, curriculum development, faculty recruitment and retention, resident recruitment activities, and consultation services for program development. Many of today’s awardees will implement a Rural Track Program, which makes it possible for residency programs to provide their residents with experience in rural settings and increase access to health care in rural areas.

Access the list of awardees here.