Rural Health Education and Training Program

This database is no longer actively maintained and is here for archival purposes only

Organization Type: 
Educational Institution
Program Type: 
Education Level: 
Postgraduate (e.g., residency, fellowship)
Educational Elements: 
Experiential not including services to patients
Experiential including clinical contact with patients
Other Element(s): 
Field Education (MSW) and Clinical Rotation (MD and Nursing)
Program Description: 

The interprofessional Rural Health Education and Training Program by the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center (TVAMC) and the University of Alabama involves four disciplines and is tied to the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH)/Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) treatment models in a rural southeast area. The program trains students in interprofessional healthcare through discipline-specific curricula, as well as through an interprofessional training seminar, directly mapping the PCMH/PACT approach through didactic discussion as well as simulated case scenarios. 

This training program sensitizes health professional students to the cultural phenomena that influence rural veterans – those that are related to "being a veteran" and those that are related to rural life.  Students learn about these influences, which facilitates culturally competent assessments and interventions, within the context of the PCMH/PACT.

In recognition of the large number of post-deployment veterans who need health care, rehabilitation, and training to be productive in the workforce and reintegrate into the community, this program  pays special attention to the needs of those veterans, through education of program leads, preceptors, and students. The program is constructed and implemented by an interdisciplinary group of clinical administrators, clinicians, academic administrators, and academic faculty who train multidisciplinary students together, both in the classroom, and in the clinical setting.

Committed to interprofessional care teams (PCMH & PACT) as an approach to assessing and treating the unique and complex health care needs of rural veterans, this program used innovative delivery systems that include community and mobile outreach clinics and telehealth. This program’s partnership has developed and implemented a comprehensive, interprofessional rural health care education and training program that assures preparedness of future rural health care providers.

Each PACT includes a core team which includes the veteran, primary care provider, registered nurse care manager, the patient services assistant, and the administrative staff for the primary care provider’s panel. Core team members collaborate with VA and non-VA entities to assure veteran needs are met. Each PACT also has an expanded team who are on-site/in-home, or available by telehealth video, to provide specialty care or consultation when requested by the core team.

All members of the team and the veteran are responsible for coordination of care, including rural veteran problems that are beyond the professional scope of the student.  These problems are presented to the PACT team or specialist/consultant by following the consultation to completion and participants gain an understanding of the importance and reward of long-term continuity of care of rural veterans and their families.

Program Results: 

Evaluation of the program is in progress.  No results reported.

Targeted Professions
Nurse Practitioners
Registered Nurses
Licensed Practical Nurses
Ambulatory Care
Internal Medicine
Social Work: 
Psychiatric social work
Medical social work
Clinical Health
Physician Assistants
Self-Reported Competencies
PCPCC’s Education and Training Task Force identified 16 interprofessional training competencies critical for preparing health professionals for practicing in team-based, coordinated care models such as patient-centered medical homes. Listed below are the self-reported competencies that this program has achieved, which have been organized by the five core features of a medical home as defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Patient-Centered Care Competencies: 
Advocacy for patient-centered integrated care
Cultural sensitivity and competence in culturally appropriate practice
Development of effective, caring relationships with patients
Patient-centered care planning, including collaborative decision-making and patient self-management
Comprehensive Care Competencies: 
Assessment of biopsychosocial needs across the lifespan
Risk identification
Coordinated Care Competencies: 
Care coordination for comprehensive care of patient & family in the community
Health information technology, including e-communications with patients & other providers
Interprofessionalism & interdisciplinary team collaboration
Quality Care & Safety Competencies: 
Assessment of patient outcomes
Evidence-based practice
Quality improvement methods, including assessment of patient-experience for use in practice-based improvement efforts
Last updated November 15, 2013

* Please note: Information contained in this database is self-reported by representatives from each program. It does not represent an exhaustive list of education and training programs and inclusion does not constitute an endorsement from the PCPCC.


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