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Local hospitals prepare to interview rural family medicine resident candidates

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The new HealthPartners Western Wisconsin Rural Family Residency Program, designed to increase the number of primary care physicians who practice in rural and underserved areas of Wisconsin, selected its first interview candidates. The program is a partnership between HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research; St. Louis Park- based Methodist Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program; Amery Hospital & Clinic; and Westfields Hospital & Clinic.

Patrick Sura, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Amery Hospital & Clinic; Westfields Hospital & Clinic President & CEO Steve Massey; and David DeGear, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Westfields Hospital & Clinic; met ,with residency candidates at the National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students held in July in Kansas City, MO.

Interviews will begin in early November through January 2018. Residents are then matched with their programs in early March. The first class of residents will start training at Methodist Hospital in June 2018. During the second year of the program, Amery Hospital & Clinic and Westfields Hospital & Clinic will each have a resident at their locations. In the third year, each site will have a second and a third year resident on board.

“For us it means that patients in our area will have better access to primary care physicians because the residents we’re training want to practice in a rural community,” said Debra Rudquist, President & CEO, Amery Hospital & Clinic. Steve Massey, President & CEO of Westfields Hospital & Clinic, added that “it’s important to attract new physicians to our community to meet the anticipated growth of New Richmond, Amery and the surrounding area.” According to the Rural Health Research Center, approximately 50 percent of physicians locate in the same state—and often in the same town—where they complete a residency. Rudquist and Massey also noted that the residency program will help improve the quality of patient care at their facilities by sharing current medical practices and knowledge.

The three-year program is being implemented through a $750,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research trains more than 400 medical residents each year.

For more information on the HealthPartners Western Wisconsin Rural Family Residency Program, visit