Supporting Medical Education Reforms Through Data and Local Advocacy for Rural Pipelines


Original Presentation Date: 12/17/2020


Rural pipeline programs can be useful tools in medical education reform to benefit counties with the gain of family physicians and production of health professionals. In a cohort study, 1993-2018, that aggregated 1051 students in the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline to their home counties (N-67) the presenter’s team studied the relationship between county participation in pipeline programs in Alabama and the outcomes of family physicians gained and health professionals produced. He suggests that local public officials could use these findings, e.g., one family physician gained for every four students a county involved in the pipeline, to advocate that health professional education employ such pipelines and facilitating policies.This webinar explores the role of rural medical educators in further reforming medical education and training and impacting local health care.

Review a list of questions and answers from the live session.

Webinar Q&A

Following this webinar, participants will be able to:

  1. Articulate a role for rural pipeline programs among medical education reforms to impact local health care
  2. Describe a theoretical concept for “growing our own” health professionals
  3. Discuss the importance of evaluation studies that affirm commitment to rural medical education strategies
  4. Join in activities and deliberations of the Rural PREP community of practice in rural primary care health professions education and training


Read a brief article

  • Wheat JR, Leeper JD. Pipeline Programs Can Support Reforms in Medical Education: A Cohort Study of Alabama’s Rural Health Leaders Pipeline to Engage Community Leaders, J Rural Health 06 November 2020.
  • Wheat JR, Leeper JD, Brandon JE, Guin SM, Jackson JR. The Rural Medical Scholars Program Study: Data to inform rural health policy. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 24: 93-101; 2011. (paper)

View Powerpoint presentation


This product was supported by the Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under cooperative agreement #UH1HP29966. The information, conclusions and opinions expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and no endorsement by BHW, HRSA, or HHS is intended or should be inferred.


John Wheat MD
University of Alabama

John Wheat MD, MPH, is a native of rural Alabama with 40 years of professional development and academic service in rural health. A professor at the University of Alabama, he is known as founding director of the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline, which he guided for 25 years, and for research developments in rural medical education, agricultural medicine, and rural access to health care. He enjoys working with students and rural communities, growing peas, corn, and green fields, hunting with his beagles, and nurturing his family and grandchildren.