Strengthening the North Country’s Primary Care Provider Pipeline
January 7, 2016
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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 (PCPs), resulting in 40% fewer PCPs per capita than the rest of the State. In recent years, significant investments have been made (including by NYHealth) to improve the way care is delivered in the North Country; however, recruiting and retaining PCPs remains an issue. To address this need, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center (CVPH) is inaugurating 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 PCPs to serve as preceptors for health profession students.
Under this grant, practicing health care professionals received training to serve as preceptors, who are responsible for providing support and a positive learning experience to medical residents. A minimum of 100 health care professionals from the region (including family medicine residents, social workers, nurse practitioners, and pharmacy students) were expected to attend the training session, all of whom have already committed to act as preceptors. The training provided participants with the knowledge and skills needed to educate learners and integrate them into their practice, with topics focused on the delivery of primary care, inter-professional development, and health systems management. Enhancing the teaching capacity of providers has the potential to draw more students and residents to stay and practice in this underserved region.