A three-year $750K HRSA grant to the University of Rochester Medical Center will support the training of Family Medicine residents in a rural setting and help increase access to Family Medicine and Obstetrics for historically marginalized and low-income rural residents and all women of reproductive age in Allegany, Livingston, Steuben and Wyoming counties.
A consortium consisting of URMC, Tri-County Family Medicine (TCFM), Highland Family Medicine/Department of Family Medicine Residency Program, and Noyes Memorial Hospital will work together to establish a Rural Track Program (RTP) with a Maternal Health & Obstetrics Pathway (MHOP) in which more than half of the residents’ experience will occur in rural locations.
Each member of the URMC/TCFM Rural GME Consortium has a special role in the initiative. The consortium includes URMC (Sponsoring Academic Medical Center), Highland Hospital, (urban hospital & Family Medicine practice), Noyes Hospital/Noyes Health (rural community hospital, Ambulatory Surgery Center, and outpatient mental health), and Tri-County Family Medicine Program, Inc. (Federally Qualified Health Center Look-alike with six rural practice sites). Physicians trained through this RTP will be proficient in the full spectrum of Family Medicine and be able to independently manage prenatal and postpartum care and perform deliveries in rural areas.
“We are very excited that, after years of planning to expand our residency program with a targeted rural health and maternal health initiative, we now have an opportunity to implement it thanks to the HRSA grant and the support of all involved,” said David C. Holub, MD, project director, and Family Medicine Residency program director, who will administer the grant with Alex Doucette, education administrator and project manager.
“There is a national shortage of primary care physicians across the country, but it is most serious in rural areas,” said Bilal Ahmed, MD, associate medical director at Highland Hospital and Chief Medical CMO at UR Medicine affiliates Noyes Memorial in Dansville and St. James in Hornell. “Establishing this residency program is an important step at addressing the issue in Monroe County’s neighboring rural areas.”
Starting in June 2026, the Department of Family Medicine’s three-year residency program will increase from 12 residents to 14 residents per year, for a total of 42 residents. Resident physicians will spend the first year training at Highland Family Medicine/Highland Hospital and subsequent two years training at Tri-County Family Medicine/Noyes Memorial Hospital.
“The American Council for Graduate Medical Education actively supports programs like this,” said Diane Hartmann, MD, SMD’s senior associate dean for Graduate Medical Education. “The initiative is consistent with the ACGME mission to improve health care and population health by enhancing physician workforce development in communities that face physician shortages in various specialties. The University of Rochester is looking forward to this partnership to help the region bring new physicians to the area.”
According to Tri-County Family Medicine Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Nicholas Apostoleris, PhD, MBA, the organization was founded more than 50 years ago to bring primary care providers to the underserved area. “It is very clear to us that we need to train the next generation of medical providers to serve our region,” said Apostoleris. “We have been deeply committed from the beginning to be part of this important process where our community health center and an academic medical center can work together to protect the public health.”
Also vital to the development of the program has been the support of URMC CEO Mark Taubman, MD; Steve Goldstein, president and CEO, Highland Hospital/Strong Memorial Hospital; Karen Stone, executive director, Tri-County Family Medicine; J. Chad Teeters, MD, president and CEO, Noyes Health; Michele Lawrence, MBA, MPH, UR associate vice president for Business Development; Colleen T. Fogarty, MD, MSc, FAAFP, Chair, Department of Family Medicine; and Brenda Houtenbrink, senior program administrator, UR Department of Family Medicine and Highland Family Medicine.
This will be the third site of the nationally recognized Department of Family Medicine Residency Program. Other sites include Highland Family Medicine and Brown Square.