Current Rural Fellows

Preparing Family Physicians

to succeed in rural communities

Current Rural Fellows

We are pleased to introduce you to our 2020-2021 rural fellows and where they are practicing in rural Western North Carolina.

Jonathan Motts, MD
Swain Family Care
Bryson City, NC

Born in the upstate of South Carolina, Dr. Motts attended the University of South Carolina for his undergraduate education and the Medical University of South Carolina for medical school. After choosing the specialty of family medicine, Dr. Motts completed his residency at the Swedish Cherry Hill Rural Training Program in Washington State. Dr. Motts is passionate about providing full spectrum family medicine to rural underserved communities and is exploring his burgeoning interests in point of care ultrasound and public health.



Amanda Gambill, MD
Blue Ridge Health – Polk
Columbus, NC

I was born and raised in the foothills of Western North Carolina. I always knew I had a passion for rural medicine and to return to WNC to give back to the area that shaped me the most. I went to Wake Forest University for undergrad and onward to UNC – Chapel Hill for medical school. I spent my 3rd and 4th year of medical school at the MAHEC Asheville campus and graduated from UNC School of Medicine in 2017. I went on to complete my residency in family medicine at AnMed in Anderson, SC, where I won the Outstanding Resident Award. The unopposed program in a small town further solidified my passion for rural medicine and allowed me to gain insight into unique problems facing isolated rural physicians. I was a Kenan Scholar at UNC, received the NC PROMISE scholarship, and participated in the NC forgivable loans for service program throughout medical school, all of which ensured I would keep my promise to return to North Carolina. During my third year of residency I did an elective rotation in Columbus, NC with Dr. Viar at the new MAHEC rural teaching site. This month long rotation allowed me to get to know the community and resources in the area; I fell in love with the small town at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains and knew I wanted to settle down in the area. I reached out to Blue Ridge Health and was able to obtain a position in their Columbus clinic. Their FQHC clinic allows me to deliver full scope care to the people most in need in the community. I knew I was ready to start my dream of practicing rural medicine but felt ill prepared for some of the nuanced situations that would arise. I felt that the MAHEC Rural Fellowship was ideal solution for new physicians in rural areas to reinforce skills learned in residency, gain new knowledge, and fill in the gaps of your knowledge that are necessary to better serve your specific community; all while building a network of other rural physicians with similar desires. During this fellowship year I plan to gain more experience with GYN procedures, medication assisted therapy for opiate addiction, psychiatry, and LGBTQ health.


Caitlin M. Sullivan, MD
New River Family Wellness
West Jefferson, NC

Dr. Sullivan grew up in a big family in the small town of Southbury, CT. She received her bachelor's degree from Colorado College where she graduated magna cum laude, then obtained her medical degree from the University of Connecticut where she received Professional Honors in Leadership and was awarded Most Outstanding Senior Woman. She also participated in the Urban Service Scholar program, an adjunct academic track focusing on interdisciplinary care for disenfranchised populations. This sparked her passion for caring for underserved communities and ultimately guided Dr. Sullivan’s desire to serve rural areas with primary care provider shortages. As a result, she attended family medicine residency in Hendersonville, NC with a focus on rural and community primary care. During residency, Dr. Sullivan served as resident medical director of the homeless clinic and provided primary care at a federally qualified health center at several locations in rural and suburban western North Carolina. Following residency, Dr. Sullivan and her colleague, Dr. Landon Allen, joined forces to open a Direct Primary Care practice in rural Ashe County, NC, a designated Health Professional Shortage Area. In addition to seeing patients in her primary care office, Dr. Sullivan provides prenatal care at the Ashe and Allegheny County Health Departments as well as practices Obstetrics, Emergency Medicine, and Hospital Medicine at the county's critical access hospital, Ashe Memorial.


Ruslan Garcia, MD
Peachtree Community Health Center
Murphy, NC

Dr. Rus Garcia is a general internist with special interests in infectious diseases, addiction medicine, and genetics. Prior to medical school he completed a research internship at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee where he studied the mutation of viral genomes. He then earned his medical degree at the University of Miami along with a Master’s degree in Genomic Medicine. Afterwards, he completed internal medicine residency training at Cornell in New York City, in one of the hospitals most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He brings his unique background to Western North Carolina to face new challenges and continue to grow as a physician. In his free time, he enjoys kayaking, exploring trails, and watching college football.


Rivers Woodward, MD, MBA
Blue Ridge Health – Lake Lure
Lake Lure, NC

Dr. Woodward is a native of Franklin, NC where he was homeschooled alongside his three siblings before leaving the mountains for UNC Chapel Hill where he graduated with degrees in biology and theater with honors. While pursuing his Bachelor’s degree, he received a fellowship to travel for five months in India, Nepal, and China to study traditional eastern modalities of medicine. A year later, inspired by the work of Patch Adams to use humor and compassion to challenge medical hierarchy, Woodward developed a relationship with Patch and traveled as a medical clown abroad as well as at home at UNC Children’s Hospital. Following his undergraduate training, Dr. Woodward improved his Spanish fluency while working with biologists in Costa Rica. He then attended UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine, where he was a part of the inaugural cohort of Kenan Rural Primary Care Scholars. It was through this program that Woodward cultivated his passion for the practice of rural medicine and began to chart his way back to WNC. During his third year of medical school, seeing the need for more medical students from rural areas who wanted to practice in underserved parts of our state, Woodward and another classmate created Project PROMISE to provide exposure, guidance, and support for high school students from rural WNC who are interested in careers in healthcare. He completed his specialty training in Family Medicine at MAHEC in Asheville where he was one of twelve family medicine residents in the country to receive the American Academy of Family Physicians Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education. While at MAHEC, he developed a passion for group medical visits as a way to help his patients come together to support each other and build community. He is passionate about practicing full-spectrum family medicine and using his broad skillset to adapt to the needs of the community. His areas of particular interest and experience include: pediatric obesity, pregnancy care, and addiction treatment. In addition to being a country doctor, performing home visits, and taking time to get to know his patients, Woodward is a passionate advocate for the health needs of western North Carolina. As the incoming chair of the Western Carolina Medical Society board of directors, Dr. Woodward plans to continue to advocate for local and state policies that allow us to support our small community hospitals, access to care for pregnant women, and treatment for addiction and mental health in our communities.