Our Program

Welcome to our program! We know that rural physicians have unique challenges and opportunities in supporting their patients and communities. We are committed to training physicians with the clinical and rural leadership skills needed to provide outstanding primary care in rural areas.

Our Rural Fellowship was developed to provide continuing education and support to help rural physicians better adjust to and meet the needs of their community. This fellowship also provides targeted training in preceptor development to enhance both clinical knowledge and teaching skills with the goal of developing rural preceptors for MAHEC’s family medicine residents, medical students from UNC School of Medicine Asheville, and other MAHEC health sciences learners.

Continuing education experiences are focused on developing core competencies and special areas of interest identified by each Fellow. Preceptor training focuses on the development of leadership and public health skills. Monthly virtual ECHO sessions, NRHA conference attendance, and access to a growing network of specialists serve to create a dynamic and evolving system of professional support.

Our rural fellowship is a 12-month commitment with placements in the primarily underserved 16-county region surrounding our main campus in Asheville, North Carolina. This fellowship provides ongoing personal and professional support for physicians who would like to establish a long-term rural practice. The allotted fellowship time (0.1 FTE – 0.3 FTE) includes required fellowship training and a community-based project in an area of academic interest.

In addition to the traditional rural fellowship year, we also offer two specialized tracks for physicians who wish to pursue either a master of public health (MPH) degree or receive additional inpatient training.

Rural Fellowship MPH Track: Pursuing an MPH degree with a capstone community rural health project is a natural complement to our rural fellowship program. MPH student fellows will be provided with financial and educational support over two years as they build a long-term rural practice in WNC. Clinical experience will be compensated and academic time protected to ensure fellows can focus on MPH program requirements. Learn more about this flexible, top-ranked UNC Gillings MPH Program in Asheville.

Hybrid Inpatient/Outpatient Rural Fellowship Track: Fellows are now able to consider an optional specialized inpatient training in conjunction with half-time rural clinical work through a unique partnership with Mission Health. This model allows for 10-12 week specialty inpatient training, general inpatient training (both rural and urban), as well as half-time rural clinical outpatient training and three weeks of continuing medical education.

FELLOWSHIP TRACK OPTION OVERVIEW

 

PROGRAM

Outpatient Rural Fellowship

Inpatient/Rural Fellowship

MPH/Rural Fellowship

LENGTH

12 months

12 – 18 months

24 months

DEGREE

None

None

Master of Public Health

SPECIALTY

Rural clinical

Hospital inpatient

Public Health

PROJECT

Community - Required

Required

Thesis & Capstone

Required Fellowship Training

Leadership Training

  • Attend leadership seminar
  • Develop relationships with local community leaders
  • CME: Racial equity training
  • CME: Hospital leadership mentoring
  • Attend and present at monthly online Project ECHO sessions on rural medical training

Preceptor Development

  • Serve as liaison and preceptor for MAHEC family medicine residents during their rural FM rotations
  • Serve as a community liaison for MAHEC’s Rural Health Initiative Team
  • Precept residents at MAHEC’s family health center once monthly
  • Attend and present at the NRHA conference with a MAHEC resident or student
  • Present at FM didactics on rural health topics
  • Serve as longitudinal preceptor for a Kenan Rural Medical Scholar and/or UNC Asheville Scholar
  • Precept for at least one health sciences learner

Community Engagement

  • Assist in Project PROMISE health careers workshops for high school students (1-2 times annually)
  • Regularly attend the WNC Rural Affinity Meetings
  • Mentor learners in a community-engaged project
  • Learn and perform a community needs assessment

Community-Based Fellowship Project

Areas of Interest:

Opioid Use Disorder

  • Achieve competency in medical management of opioid use disorder, including learning to provide office-based opioid treatment (OBOT) with buprenorphine (Suboxone)
  • Establish a model for providing OBOT that includes appropriate behavioral health support
  • CME: Participate in MAHEC’s chronic pain and OBOT clinics under the leadership of Blake Fagan, MD

Hepatitis C

  • Achieve competency in medical management of Hepatitis C
  • Expand the hepatitis treatment program to rural communities
  • CME: Participate in MAHEC’s hepatitis management program through the mentorship of Eric Smith, MD

Obesity/Metabolic Syndrome

  • Achieve competency in lifestyle and medical management of obesity
  • Establish and execute a model for providing focused obesity/metabolic syndrome care via group or individual appointments within an FQHC
  • CME: Take part and assist in MAHEC’s metabolic clinic through the mentorship of John Lang, MD

Group Visits

  • Achieve competency in group visit facilitation
  • Establish a regular weekly multidisciplinary drop-in group medical appointment at one clinical site to include, at minimum, a healthcare provider and behavioral health specialist
  • CME: Take part and assist in MAHEC’s group visit clinics under Heidi Knoll, MD

Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS)

  • Achieve competency in POCUS to enhance rural primary care (e.g., DVT screening, MSK diagnostics, and enhanced injection techniques)
  • Obtain certification to provide and bill these services as an FM physician as available
  • CME: Take part in MAHEC’s POCUS course through the mentorship of Benjamin Gilmer, MD

Procedural Skills

  • Radiologic
    • POCUS
    • Enhanced radiograph interpretation
  • Acute care skills: central lines, etc.
  • MSK: expanding experience in joint injections and sports medicine
  • GYN: colposcopy, endometrial biopsies, IUD insertion, transvaginal ultrasound

Behavioral Health

  • Develop more advanced behavioral health skills by assisting the MAHEC behavioral health team
  • Learn the process of telepsychiatry, participate in a telepsychiatry Project ECHO
  • Inpatient psychiatry rotation at Broughton Hospital

Acute Care/Emergency Medicine

  • Advanced airway and central line training
  • Pre-hospital care
  • Wilderness medicine
  • CME: Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) Certification at Mission, SOLO certification (wilderness or EMT)

Application Process

Please complete our online application form.  Applications will be accepted through April 15th.

Salary and Benefits

Salary: up to $46,000

  • Support for 0.1 - 0.3 FTE of your clinical salary (based on average rural FM salary of $155,000)

Benefits 

  • Professional liability insurance
  • Contract negotiation
  • Professional Education: Up to $2,500 for CME-related expenses