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How rural does my program or track need to be to participate in The RTT Collaborative?

Any health professions school or residency may join the cooperative by paying an annual fee for the academic year July 1 to June 30. The RTT Collaborative is unabashedly focused on sustaining health professions education and training in rural places and for rural communities. Participating programs can be located in a rural place or in an urban place with a focus on preparing individuals for rural practice. We consider any urban program in medical school or residency that can demonstrate among its graduates a yield to rural practice of at least 35% to be “rural-focused.” To find out if your program and any of your curricular experiences are located in a rural place by any of a number of federal definitions, visit Am I Rural?

I’ve heard there is a discount for program participation if all the rural residencies in one State join together. How does that work?

States who have multiple rural residency programs can lower the total cost of participation through an in-State multi-program discount. To receive this discount, the programs must aggregate under a formal or informal entity (e.g. a consortium or a medical school), encouraging regional collaboration. Each program must complete a program participation form, and these are then submitted together to the RTT Collaborative. For one participating program, the annual cost is $3,000; for each additional program the cost is $1,500. The aggregator will be invoiced each year for the aggregate costs. The fees can then be passed through to the individual programs in full or in part. Depending on the total number, the average cost to the programs will be significantly less than if each program participated on their own. If you have any questions about this multi-program discount, please contact us before June each year, when we invoice programs for the upcoming academic year.

Don’t many doctors and other rural health professionals train in urban programs?

Absolutely! In fact, because most health professions education currently happens in the city, the majority of clinicians in rural practice have not been trained in a rural place. Although urban programs may produce a relatively small percentage to rural practice, even a small percentage of a large number of graduates is quite significant.

Rurally-focused and rurally-located schools or programs, however, turn out graduates to rural practice at 2-3 times the rate of other schools and programs that are not rurally focused or located. In addition, we believe the graduates of rural programs are better prepared and more likely to stay in rural practice long-term, and we are presently accumulating data to validate that belief. Although rurally-located programs account for only 10% of the training positions in family medicine, for example, they produce 20-30% of the physicians currently graduating into rural practice.

Why use the term “participants” rather than “members?”

The RTT Collaborative is a non-profit cooperative of rural programs, directed by an executive director and an administrative director, under the authority of a Board of Directors. More than 50% of the Board must be directors of a rural program or track in a health professions school or training program. Although they do not vote, participating programs have many benefits, and can recommend individuals to the Board.

How do I initiate a request for assistance in setting up a new program?”

The best way to initiate a conversation is to send an email to Dr. Hinkle, as executive director, or to our administrative director. Often, a brief phone call can be arranged to get you started in the right direction. And please visit our Technical Assistance page