WSU to set up rural residency program for doctors at Pullman hospital with help from federal grant

Courtesy of Washington State University

Pullman Regional Hospital will become home to a new family medicine residency program with help from a nearly $750,000 federal grant, Washington State University has announced.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is from the Rural Residency Planning and Development program, which is aiming to create more rural training programs and increase overall health care quality in rural areas.

"This funding is an exciting step in our collective goal to address rural health care needs and solve workforce shortages by effectively training physicians to practice in, and meet the clinical needs of, populations in rural and underserved communities," WSU President Kirk Schulz said in announcing the award.

The university notes that it's more likely doctors will stay in the communities they train in, which is part of why rural programs at small community "critical access hospitals," like the one in Pullman, are important in the overall push to address a shortage of family doctors.

"We are deeply committed to improving health care quality and access in rural and underserved communities in Washington, and a critical part of our commitment is creating residencies in these communities to increase the chance that students will remain there to practice medicine," says John Tomkowiak, dean of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, in the announcement.

The Rural Residency Planning and Development program is a multiyear effort to increase the number of doctors in rural areas, with awards to just 27 residency programs across the country, according to WSU.

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About The Author

Samantha Wohlfeil

Samantha Wohlfeil covers the environment, rural communities and cultural issues for the Inlander. Since joining the paper in 2017, she's reported how the weeks after getting out of prison can be deadly, how some terminally ill Eastern Washington patients have struggled to access lethal medication, and other sensitive...