Graduate Medical Education Initiatives to Develop the Physician Workforce in Rural Wisconsin

WMJ. 2018 Dec;117(5):201-207.


The physician shortage is an increasing concern across the nation. Wisconsin is seeing this shortage grow even more prominently in rural counties. In order to prepare a sufficient rural physician workforce, several state-funded programs are collaborating to monitor the number of rural graduate medical education (GME) opportunities available, assess the number of rural physicians needed to meaningfully reduce the shortage, and promote effective development and expansion of new and existing opportunities. From 2010 to 2017, there has been substantial growth in rural-focused undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education opportunities; by 2020, there will be 141 new rural GME positions through creating new and expanding existing residency and fellowship programs. Once residents and fellows graduate from their respective programs, it will be possible to measure to what degree rural program expansion may impact the number of physicians who choose to stay and practice in rural Wisconsin communities. The program initiatives in this report have demonstrated success in increasing residency and fellowship training opportunities with early outcomes indicating this strategy is effective in the recruitment and retention of physicians in rural Wisconsin.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Graduate / trends*
  • Humans
  • Physicians / supply & distribution*
  • Rural Health / education*
  • Rural Health Services / trends*
  • Wisconsin
  • Workforce / trends*