Primary Care

Grantee Name

Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center

Funding Area

Primary Care

Publication Date

June 2017

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

January 2016 – July 2016

Health disparities in the rural and remote North Country region of upstate New York are well documented.

The region struggles with recruiting primary care physicians, resulting in 40% fewer primary care physicians per capita than the rest of the State. In recent years, significant investments have been made (including by NYHealth) to improve the way primary care is delivered in the North Country. However, recruiting and retaining primary care physicians remains a challenge.

To address this need, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH)—now part of the University of Vermont Health Network—inaugurated the first family medicine residency program/teaching hospital in the region. It is also the lead member of the 12-member EXPLORE consortium, which brings health-related training and learning opportunities to the North Country. To help establish the residency program, NYHealth awarded CVPH a grant to support the EXPLORE consortium in hosting a one-day training for primary care physicians to serve as preceptors for health profession students.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Trained 89 health care professionals (out of an anticipated goal of 100 attendees) on the knowledge and skills needed to educate future health care providers and integrate them into their practices, focusing on the rural needs of delivering of primary care, inter-professional development, and health systems management; and
  • Held sessions on feedback, evaluation, precepting, and evidence-based medicine as a way to create optimal learning and training environments for students, interns, and residents.

The training was a success overall. The majority of these invitees were small practice or independent providers from rural areas, and spending even a day away from seeing patients can be difficult for them. In addition to the providers, CVPH sought to promote student attendance at the conference by offering scholarships that would cover the cost of the training. However, only 26 out of the 56 available scholarships were awarded because the date of the conference was scheduled after the end of the spring semester for all students in the region. The training received positive feedback from both the attendees and the presenters. For example, nearly 100% of the attendees felt that the training provided new, pertinent information for their practices and patient care, and 100% of the presenters reported they would recommend presenting at an EXPLORE training to their peers. The training also provided a networking opportunity for professionals and organizations, which resulted in a community-based behavioral health agency joining the EXPLORE consortium.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: CVPH also contributed funding to support the training ($14,675). To further support efforts in recruiting and retaining providers in this rural, underserved area of New York State, the University of Vermont Health Network has committed to providing up to $120,000 in student loan forgiveness to family practice residents who agree to practice in the area when they complete their residency.