The Regional Distribution of Psychiatric Residency Positions Funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Its Relationship to Rural Veteran Populations

Acad Psychiatry. 2022 Aug;46(4):435-440. doi: 10.1007/s40596-021-01565-1. Epub 2021 Nov 17.


Objective: The authors evaluated the distribution of psychiatry residency positions funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs between 2014 and 2020 with respect to geographic location and hospital patient population rurality.

Methods: The authors collected data on psychiatry residency positions from the Veterans Affairs' Office of Academic Affiliations Support Center and data on hospital-level patient rurality from the Veterans Health Administration Support Service Center. They examined the chronological and geospatial relationships between the number of residency positions deployed and the size of the rural patient populations served.

Results: Between 2014 and 2020, the Department of Veterans Affairs has substantially increased the number of rural hospitals hosting psychiatry residency programs, as well as the number of residency positions at those hospitals. However, several geographic regions serve high numbers of rural veterans with few or no psychiatry resident positions.

Conclusions: While the VA efforts to increase psychiatry residency positions in rural areas have been partially successful, additional progress can be made increasing support for psychiatry trainees at Veterans Affairs hospitals and community-based outpatient clinics that serve large portions of the rural veteran population.

Keywords: Healthcare sector; Internship and residency; Psychiatry; Rural population; Training support.

MeSH terms

  • Hospitals, Veterans
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Psychiatry*
  • Rural Population
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans* / psychology