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TARGETING RURAL AND UNDERSERVED TRACK (TRUST) PROGRAM
The TRUST Program was started at the WWAMI Program at Montana State University in May 2008. It is an initiative of Jay Erickson, M.D. (Director of Clinical Education in Montana and Assistant Dean at the University of Washington School of Medicine). The overall goal of the TRUST Program is to increase the number of Montana WWAMI students choosing primary care residencies and returning to practice in rural and underserved areas of the state. Objectives of the TRUST Program are to: (1) create an integrated pathway for Montana students interested in rural or underserved medicine, (2) use existing programs, as well as, new programs to create a continuum that selects, educates and supports Montana students with an interest in rural or underserved medicine through medical school and into residency training, (3) develop a targeted admissions process that chooses Montana students likely to practice in rural or underserved areas of Montana, (4) enhance medical school curriculum so that it encourages students to enter primary care or other specialties of need in rural or underserved practices, (5) develop a continuity mentorship that will support and encourage Montana students interested in rural/underserved care throughout their medical education experience, (6) create specific clinical experiences that will expose students to the satisfaction, challenges and life style of a physician practicing in rural and underserved areas and (7) expose students to the issues of rural and underserved practices with on-line discussions, attendance at regional and national rural or underserved conferences - and - a formal class on rural health care delivery systems.
Montana students selected for participation in the Regional WWAMI Program of the University of Washington School of Medicine have the option of applying for the TRUST Program. If selected for TRUST, these students are assigned to a rural physician preceptor/mentor and do a clinical rotation in a rural community prior to matriculation in medical school at Montana State University. The students continue to be affiliated with this rural physician throughout the four years of medical school - and - during the third and four years these students will do all of their clinical clerkships in Montana.
The need for primary care physicians to practice in rural communities is a national issue which is being addressed by some medical schools - and - it needs to become a focus of state and federal governments, health professions organizations, and communities. Recent publications have stated that “the persistent shortage of physicians in rural areas continues to have a major impact on access to care for those living in small communities.” In the United States, one in five persons live in rural areas, while only 9% of all physicians practice in rural communities. In Montana, the problem is even more critical because approximately 66% of the population lives in rural and frontier areas. Through the TRUST Program, the WWAMI Medical Education Program at Montana State University proposes to increase the number of medical students choosing primary care as a specialty and after residency training making decisions to practice in rural and frontier areas of the state.
The TRUST Program is a collaborative initiative of the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Montana WWAMI Program at Montana State University in partnership with rural physicians, rural hospital administrators, community health center administrators, Montana Family Medicine Residency Program, Montana Medical Association, Montana Hospital Association, Montana Academy of Family Physicians and the Montana AHEC/Montana Office of Rural Health.
UWSOM Trust Scholar Pages