Applications for Cohort 3 are now open!  Click here for the application!  Applications are due by October 15, 2023!


While several training opportunities for Program, Associate Program, and Site Directors exist, very few are targeted for leaders of rural programs. There is a need for professional development opportunities for those who are faced with the extra challenges of leading their programs in resource-limited, and often isolated, communities. Rural directors may also be located far from the peer mentors typically available to directors in academic centers, and even if good personal relationships do exist, the resources to support them in the rural location may be lacking.

To that end, a pilot group of ten Rural Training Track (RTT) and Rural Program directors are participating in a professional development learning community called Rural PDU, short for Rural Program Director’s University.


To establish a learning community across organizations which facilitates training, networking, and peer learning among Program, Associate Program, and Site Directors of rural programs, training tracks, and pathways.


Darin Bell, MD, Associate Director of the RTT Collaborative and David Schmitz, MD, Sr. Research Advisor

Community Design:

Twelve one-hour monthly virtual meetings with the following composition:
Connect: (5-10 min) Share story or experience/connecting exercise
Share: (15-20 min) Pre-assigned presenter(s) share information on pre-selected topic
Relate: (15 min) Participants share scenarios, ask questions, give feedback related to above topic
Q&A: (10 min) Open Discussion
Plan: (5 min) Determine topics for following 1-2 months and assign someone Connect story/exercise for next meeting

Future Cohorts: To be considered for future cohorts, contact  Dr. Darin Bell at