We’re very familiar with the coming crisis in rural healthcare, especially for women in rural areas – more than half of counties in the U.S. do not have an ob-gyn, and hospitals in rural counties across the country are shuttering labor and delivery units. For patients, this can mean long travel times to give birth in a hospital, as well as other issues related to accessing ob-gyn care.
In “Strengthening the Workforce to Improve Pregnancy Outcomes in Rural Areas,” the Rural Monitor describes two programs looking to improve rural healthcare access today and into the future: a cross-programmatic training program at a rural medical center in Alaska; and the first-in-the-nation rural ob-gyn residency program. *Our* rural residency program:
“In 2016, UW-Madison began recruiting residents for its new rural OB-GYN residency program. Currently, the program recruits one resident per year, and the program’s first, Dr. Laura McDowell, began the four-year training program in the summer of 2017. The program looks for residents who grew up in rural areas, have completed a rural-based medical program like the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine, and are interested in general OB-GYN (instead of specializing) as well as health disparities in rural communities.”
Read the whole article for a great look at the challenges in providing ob-gyn care in rural settings, and what we’re doing to help address the issue. (And keep an eye out in August for an episode of the Women’s Healthcast about the crisis in rural healthcare!)