Rural Teaching Practices

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Rural teaching practices are model rural practices that deliver quality team-based care and make rural practice professionally rewarding, innovative, and sustainable for providers, learners, and staff. This environment fosters multidisciplinary learning that encourages recruitment and retention of providers to rural practices in Western North Carolina.

MAHEC’s rural fellows are key to rural teaching practices, and often serve as physician champions for education initiatives and as preceptors for student learners.  Through the 6 Ps—placement in a rural community, protected time, preceptor development, projects to support comunity engagement, practice clinical development, and partnerships with people and practices—fellows are able to not only support their own development early in their practice tenure, but are also able serve future workforce needs by supporting engaged learning in their practices.

MAHEC currently supports rural teaching practices in Yancey, Mitchell, Polk, and Haywood counties. New rural teaching practice partnerships are being developed in Jackson, Swain, Macon, and Graham counties.

Lifelong Learning

Didactic Sessions

Practice Transformation

Learner Incentives

Multidisciplinary Learning

1:1 Didactic Time

Faculty Development

Learning Opportunities

Academic Endeavors

Practice Support

Site Coordinator

Partner teaching practice sites benefit from an array of services including:

  • Support for practice-wide didactic conferences with CME credit
  • Investment in practice enhancement
  • Provider recruitment and retention
  • Resident revenue generation
  • Protected time for academic endeavors
  • Mentoring and faculty development with MAHEC partners
  • Dynamic curriculum building with regional rural practices and shared resources

A wide variety of MAHEC learners engage with rural teaching practices:

  • Fellows (family medicine, pharmacy, rural)
  • Residents (family medicine, pharmacy, psychiatry)
  • Medical sudents
  • Pharmacy students
  • Nurse Practitioner students
  • Nursing students
  • Pipeline students (high school, undergraduate, pre-professional)


For more information, please contact


Mountain Community Health Partnership

Mitchell and Yancey Counties, HPSA Score: 18

MCHP is a partnership between Bakersville Community Health Center, Spruce Pine, and Celo Health Center. As a federally qualified health center, MCHP is a resource for wellness, prevention, and quality care. MCHP provides primary care, pregnancy care, women’s health, pediatric care, and behavioral health at all of its offices and provides chiropractic services at its Bakersville and Celo offices. MCHP is committed to providing quality healthcare to patients in its service area regardless of their ability to pay. MCHP was our first rural teaching practice site. Your can learn more about MCHP and our teaching practice model in this feature story.

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Foothills Medical Associates

Polk County

Since 1999, Foothills Medical Associates has been dedicated to providing Polk County residents with exceptional care, close to home. Under the direction of Jeffrey Viar, DO, Foothills Medical Associates prides itself on providing patients with highly skilled, dedicated physicians and physician assistants who focus on personalized attention using the latest procedures to ensure a faster recovery. As primary care practitioners, their providers care for all stages of life from infants to the elderly.

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Blue Ridge Health - Haywood

Haywood County, HPSA Score: 18

In 1963, Blue Ridge Health was founded by a compassionate nurse with the vision to eliminate health disparities among our region’s most vulnerable populations. Today, BRH is a patient-centered medical home for anyone in Western North Carolina, delivering high-quality healthcare for more than 36,000 individuals annually. With health center locations in seven counties and five school-based health centers, BRH provides healthcare services close to home and all under one roof.

To locate additional health professional shortage area (HPSA) scores, visit

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Cherokee Indian Hospital

Swain County, HPSA score: 18-20

The Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority (CIHA) blends state-of-the-art healthcare within a system of inpatient and outpatient resources across the Qualla Boundary and its outlying clinics. With an emphasis on Cherokee history, arts, crafts, and the unique healing aspects of Cherokee culture, including consideration for the mind, body, and spirit, CIHA addresses the health and wellness needs of the Tribe—and does so to the highest national standards of healthcare.

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