Federal Grant to Expand Physician Residency Program to Rural County
HRSA Rural Residency Program Addresses Growing Shortage of Family Medicine Physicians in Gold Country Communities
JACKSON, Calif. – Sutter Health was awarded a $750,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to expand its Sacramento-based physician residency program to Amador County as part of the federal agency’s efforts to provide better access to quality medical care in rural areas.
The HRSA Rural Residency Planning and Development grant will help not-for-profit Sutter Health expand its successful Family Medicine Residency Program located in Sacramento and Davis to the Sutter Amador Hospital campus.
“The health challenges in rural America are clear: Rural communities face a greater risk of poor health outcomes than their urban counterparts,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “Programs like the Rural Residency Planning and Development grants take aim at one of the most persistent disparities: access to high-quality healthcare providers. HRSA is committed to increasing the number of providers serving rural communities and improving health in rural America.”
This grant is part of a larger $20 million multi-year initiative by HRSA to expand the physician workforce in rural areas by developing new, sustainable residency programs in family medicine, internal medicine and psychiatry.
The goal of the Sutter Health project is to develop a sustainable, accredited rural training track in the Mother Lode and to ultimately expand the area’s rural primary care workforce. In Amador County, there is an evident high need for primary-care physicians (PCPs)in the area as the ratio of the population to one PCP is 1,760-to-1; the ratio throughout the state of California is 1,280 residents to one PCP, according to the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps website.
“Because of the strength of its integrated network, Sutter has created multiple residency and fellowship programs in primary care and specialty areas over the last two decades,” said Ash Gokli, M.D., chief medical officer for the Sutter Health Valley Area. “By expanding our residency program into Amador County, we can help address the shortage of family medicine providers that is being felt disproportionately in rural areas. We are working to strengthen the physician pipeline throughout our integrated network so our patients receive the same high-quality care no matter what community they live in.”
The Sutter Health Family Medicine Residency Program is based at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. It is a community-based program where residents in family medicine complete core inpatient training in Sacramento during the first year, with their next two years in Sacramento or Davis. Currently there are 21 residents in the program, and the Amador County program will expand the program to 27 residents. Since its inception in 1995, the Sutter Family Medicine Residency Program has graduated 139 physicians, all of whom passed their Board Certification assessments on the first effort. For more on the program, go to www.suttermd.com/education/residency/family-medicine.
HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable. HRSA programs help those in need of high quality primary health care, people living with HIV/AIDS, pregnant women, and mothers. HRSA also supports the training of health professionals, the distribution of providers to areas where they are needed most and improvements in health care delivery. For more on HRSA, go to www.hrsa.gov.