Dates of Project: July 1997 to August 2009
Field of Work: Increasing access to health care in rural, underserved areas of eight Southern states
Synopsis of the Work: The Southern Rural Access Program was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that worked to increase access to health care in rural, underserved areas of eight southern states. The states recruited and retained rural primary care providers, offered programs to attract students committed to working in rural areas to the health professions and help prepare them for training programs, developed collaborative networks of rural health providers, and developed loan funds to help rural health providers improve their practices.
In South Carolina, one of the participating states, the nonprofit South Carolina Office of Rural Health developed two programs to nurture future health professionals likely to practice in rural areas. The Community Incentive for Diversity program provided scholarships for 29 minority students in nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery and physician assistant training programs. The South Carolina Rural Interdisciplinary Program of Training introduced 420 students in 12 health disciplines, to rural health care for five weeks during the summer. The program included 16 days of clinical practice or fieldwork designed to give the students face-to-face contact with local residents. Read more about the project in the sidebar.