HUNTINGTON - Parkview Huntington Hospital in Huntington County is trying to grow the number of physicians choosing to practice in rural and medically underserved regions. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the hospital a $750,000 grant to create a family medicine rural residency program.

“Research demonstrates that physicians who train in rural communities are likely to stay in those communities to practice medicine,” said Juli Johnson, president, Parkview Huntington Hospital. “This program will help ensure quality care close to home for more patients in northeast Indiana.”

Johnson expects to begin the program in 2022. It would allow to accommodate four family medicine residents per year. The first year of residency would be completed in Fort Wayne, while years two and three would be completed in Huntington.

In presenting the grant, the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of HHS, said health challenges in rural America are great. “Rural communities face a greater risk of poor health outcomes than their urban counterparts,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “Programs like the Rural Residency Planning and Development grants take aim at one of the most persistent disparities: access to high quality healthcare providers.”

HRSA says Parkview Huntington Hospital is one of 27 Rural Residency Planning and Development Program grant recipients nationwide, and the only recipient in HRSA’s six-state Midwest region of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.