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ETSU receives grant to prepare more physicians to practice in underserved, rural areas 

Project also will address treatment of Opioid Use Disorder 
JOHNSON CITY – A grant awarded to the Department of Family Medicine at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine will help prepare more family medicine resident physicians to practice as primary care physicians (PCPs) in rural and underserved communities.
The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded ETSU approximately $2.4 million over five years to fund a project titled “Family Medicine Training in Rural Appalachia.”
“It can be hard to recruit physicians to more rural areas, so a project like this enables us to train and hopefully retain great physicians for Appalachia,” said Dr. Amanda Stoltz, project director.
The grant-funded project will create a rural community-based preceptor development program, which will include the use of tele-education, the expansion of rural clinical resident rotations and the development of a formal curriculum to train resident physicians in the use of telehealth.
ETSU Health Family Medicine is also working on a plan to recruit and retain medical students who are from rural and/or underserved locations to its residency programs.
“The strongest predictors of future rural practice are rural background and rural training,” said Dr. Ivy Click, co-project director. “Quillen and ETSU Health Family Medicine are uniquely positioned for success on this project because of our focus on rural, primary care training, our history of accepting medical students from rural and underserved backgrounds, and our long-term relationships with our rural community partners.”
In addition to preparing resident physicians to practice in rural and/or underserved areas, the project involves preparing residents and practicing community-based physicians to treat patients with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) using tele-education and dedicated clinical experiences for residents with PCPs who provide medication assisted treatment in the primary care setting.
“Using an interprofessional approach, the project has great potential to grow the primary care physician workforce in rural and/or underserved areas and enhance the quality of health care delivery to patients in a region with substantial health disparities, particularly OUD,” Stoltz said.
To learn more about ETSU Quillen College of Medicine, visit www.etsu.edu/com.