Building the Primary Care Workforce in Rural Communities—Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Parker, Colo.

Rocky Vista University (RVU) College of Osteopathic Medicine, Parker, Colo., was established in 2006 to help Colorado and other Mountain West states ease the shortage of well-trained rural physicians. To that goal, RVU established a Rural and Wilderness Medicine Honors Track, a Global Medicine Track and a Military Medicine track. These tracks select the top 25 percent of the class academically to participate in extra skills training designed to deliver quality care with limited resources.

The Rural and Wilderness training focuses on extra procedural training in surgery, obstetrics, public health, dentistry for physicians, as well as wilderness survival training. Students interact with rural EMS services, ranchers, energy companies, critical access hospitals and rural health care providers to learn in real-time what rural life entails.

Since graduation of the inaugural class in 2012, one half of the program’s graduates have chosen to go into a field of primary care and one third of those graduating classes of 150 have chosen family medicine.