Rural Health Initiative

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MAHEC’s Rural Health Initiative (RHI) is addressing our region’s rural healthcare provider shortage through inter-professional health sciences education, collaboration with rural communities, and the development of innovative sustainable models of rural healthcare to improve health across Western North Carolina.

With the support of UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC and State appropriations, RHI is expanding health sciences education and training into rural communities to address health and resource disparities and the unique needs of our largely rural region.

RHI supports learners throughout the pathway to rural healthcare careers with programming for high school, undergraduate, pre-professional, and graduate and professional students.

Primary Care Training Enhancement Grant

The Primary Care Training Enhancement (PCTE) grant aims to strengthen the primary care workforce by supporting enhanced training for future primary care clinicians, educators, and researchers, as well as promoting primary care practice in rural and underserved areas. The overarching project goal is to increase the number of primary care physicians (PCP) who are trained in interprofessional environments and have skills to address the opioid crisis, mental health, telehealth, community health, and other rural health challenges. Successes from the second year of the grant include:

The Pathway to Building the Rural Health Workforce

MAHEC Rural Graduates

Each year, healthcare providers and public health professionals from all 16 WNC counties benefit from UNC Halth Sciences at MAHEC's educational programs and graduates.

MAHEC's rural health initiative has the potential to make a substantial health and economic impact in Western North Carolina with the support of UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC and long-standing collaborative partnerships with healthcare systems and community organizations across the region.


For more information about MAHEC's Rural Health Initiative, please contact Benjamin Gilmer, MD at

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