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GME Funding for Rural Physician Education

Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program (WRPRAP)


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Our Mission

The Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program (WRPRAP) is committed to collaborating with rural health advocates, community clinicians, and residency educators throughout Wisconsin to develop educational experiences that foster understanding of, and interest in, rural medical practice among new physicians. 

The Issue

Rural health care in Wisconsin is in crisis.  Critically inadequate numbers of physicians and other medical workers is an escalating trend that will intensify over the next decade.  Immediate action to nurture the interest and success of physicians who will meet medical workforce needs in Wisconsin is essential. This includes primary care, mental health, maternity care and surgical needs of patients throughout the state.

Addressing the Problem

Wisconsin Act 190 (effective July 1, 2010) was passed and funded by the state legislature to address this problem. It provided:

  • Health care provider loan repayment (administered by the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health)
  • An annual $750,000 to fund a new "rural physician residency assistance program"
  • Mandate to support graduate medical education rotations in rural areas
  • Defined “rural,” “rotation,” ACGME requirement compliance and eligibility standards
  • University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine appointed as fund administrator
  • Requirement for a WRPRAP annual plan to the legislature for enhancing rural resident experiences

ACT 190 designated that:

  •  Any Wisconsin residency program in family medicine, general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics, pediatrics or psychiatry is an eligible recipient for funding
  • A program's resident(s) will spend at least eight weeks of clinical time in a rural area
  • Existing funding cannot be supplanted with WRPRAP funds

Access to Funding

State funding for WRPRAP was renewed in the current biennium.  Considerable collaboration with community clinicians, residency educators and others is required to effectively foster the preparation of the rural medical workforce through creation of new rotation experiences and rural track programs.  Funds are competitively awarded through an application process open to all eligible programs.  https://www.fammed.wisc.edu/rural/applications-funding