The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) awarded nearly $11 million to 15 award recipients to strengthen the rural health workforce through the Rural Residency Planning and Development (RRPD) Program. The RRPD program supports the establishment of new rural residency programs or rural track programs in family medicine, internal medicine, preventive medicine, psychiatry, general surgery, and obstetrics-gynecology. Over a three-year grant period, the award recipients will spend up to $750,000 in start-up funding to build the program infrastructure (faculty, curriculum, etc.) needed to deliver rural residency training. Based in 13 states and one U.S. territory, the new awardees include three family medicine programs with enhanced obstetrical training, our first rural preventive medicine program, and two multi-specialty programs.
The programs supported by RRPD funds allow rural communities to build a strong and sustainable rural physician workforce through a “grow-your-own” approach, preparing the next generation of physicians to learn and eventually practice in rural settings. Research has shown that physicians from a rural background and those trained in rural settings are more likely to continue practicing in rural areas after completing their residencies. This newest RRPD cohort will continue to counter persistent workforce shortages by laying and maintaining the infrastructure needed to train physicians in rural communities.
Throughout the duration of their grant, award recipients will have access to one-on-one advisor support, tools, and resources provided by the HRSA-funded RRPD Technical Assistance Center to navigate the various stages of program development. The RRPD Technical Assistance Center also has free resources for other organizations interested in rural residency programs.
These 15 new awards join the 58 organizations across 32 states and five medicine disciplines that are developing new residency programs thanks to the $43.4 million FORHP awarded between 2019 and 2022. So far, these critical investments in the rural health workforce have created 38 new accredited rural residency programs or rural track programs with approximately 503 new residency positions. Other programs are making progress towards achieving accreditation by the end of their grant period. Accredited RRPD-funded programs are already training over 300 resident physicians in family medicine, internal medicine, psychiatry, and general surgery. To learn more about what rural residency programs are doing in your states, please read the latest RRPD program summaries.
In FY 2024, FORHP anticipates investing approximately $11.25 million in RRPD awards contingent on available funding. For more information, visit the forecast on grants.gov or email RuralResidency@hrsa.gov.