CASPER, Wyo. — The University of Wyoming said on Tuesday, June 23 that UW’s Wyoming Family Medicine Residency Program at Casper has received a $2.1 million grant aimed to expand primary care residency training in the state.
The grant was awarded by the United States Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
“The grant supports the creation of a rural training track to better prepare physicians who will practice in rural communities throughout the state,” UW said. “The grant, known as ‘Primary Care Training and Enhancement: Residency Training in Primary Care Program,’ will extend over five years, with a focus on hands-on, full-scope training for family medicine physicians planning careers in rural medicine.”
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That rural training track program will be centered in Thermopolis and is a partnership between the UW Family Medicine Residency Program at Casper and Hot Springs County Memorial Hospital, according to UW.
“The first resident to enter into the rural training track will spend a robust first year at the residency program at Casper,” UW added. “This intern year is set up with a traditional block-rotation format to take advantage of training with specialists and all that Casper’s Wyoming Medical Center has to offer.”
“The intern also receives experience in the Casper core program clinic — a federally qualified health center known as the Educational Health Center of Wyoming (EHCW), which serves as a safety net for the community. Afterward, the resident will live and train in Thermopolis during the remainder of the second and third years.”
The first person who will begin the rural training track will be Cheyenne native Megan Olson, a 2020 graduate of the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) Medical Education Program. UW says she will start the program on July 1.
UW says that Olson had completed two month long rotations in Thermopolis while enrolled in the WWAMI program.
“It is an honor to return to Thermopolis as the first rural training track resident,” Olson said in UW’s release. “I look forward to continuing to grow the program and advance my education so that I will be equipped to provide quality health care to residents in Wyoming’s rural communities.”
The grant funding will support a variety of training including for the treatment of opioid use disorder and telehealth services.
“The overall mission of the rural training track is to expand graduate medical education in Wyoming with a heightened focus on training for full-scope, rural family medicine to help meet the health care needs of rural Wyoming communities,” UW said.