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3 Ways to Improve Healthcare in Rural Areas

Community Needs, General, Physicians

Improving rural healthcare 

The U.S. is facing a doctor shortage. Here’s how Adventist Health is adapting. 

Welcoming new residents 

This summer, Adventist Health welcomed 12 new resident physicians to the Central Valley. Together, they make up the energetic, diverse and well-rounded family medicine residency class of 2025. 

“These next three years, our residents will gain clinical excellence, leadership, cultural competency and equitable practice of medicine,” says Raul Ayala, MD, designated institutional official for Adventist Health’s family medicine residency programs. “The fabric of community will be interwoven into every clinical encounter as well as our commitment to engage and collaborate with our community partners.” 

Local Care

Bringing new doctors to the community 

In July 2021, the Association of American Medical Colleges published a troubling report predicting that the United States could see a shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians by 2034, including up to 48,000 primary care physicians. Adventist Health in the Central Valley is doing its part to help close that gap by training the next generation of physicians through its Hanford and Tulare Family Medicine Residency programs. 

During the three-year program, residents live in the Central Valley, become members of the community and work at Adventist Health hospitals and clinics. 

Community Outreach

Highly trained medical experts 

Adventist Health’s Hanford and Tulare Family Medicine Residency programs enable residents (doctors who have completed medical school and are pursuing their graduate medical education) to train in an array of disciplines, including emergency medicine, medical-surgical and labor and delivery.  

Under the supervision of an attending physician, the residents provide high-quality care to patients by performing physical exams, updating medical records, interpreting lab results and issuing prescriptions. They also help fulfill the program’s vision of reducing health disparities in the Valley by providing compassionate care through a mobile care unit, which offers basic medical services and resources to rural communities and to those experiencing homelessness. During the COVID-19 pandemic, residents set up a testing site at clinics, volunteered at vaccine events and completed COVID-19 rotations at various sites. 

“Part of the reason why I chose to do residency at Adventist Health was because of the outreach, specifically to the homeless population,” says Melody Nameni, DO, a Tulare family medicine resident. “I really wanted to give back to the community.”