“Can young physicians receive top-notch family medicine specialty training in a rural environment?” “Will these young physicians choose to work in a rural environment after graduation?” More than a dozen years ago, KSB Hospital and the University of Illinois College of Medicine-Rockford (UICOM-R) answered both of these questions with a tentative “Yes.” The resulting collaboration gave birth to the Dixon Rural Training Track in Family Medicine (Dixon RTT).
In the intervening years, sixteen freshly-minted family physicians have moved successfully from the Dixon RTT into the workforce as board-certified family medicine physicians with a U of I residency certificate.
This rural-based residency remains the only one of its kind in Illinois. The Dixon RTT experiment has succeeded due to the enthusiastic cooperation of some stakeholders. KSB’s administration saw the value of such a program. KSB’s family medicine physicians agreed to be teachers and mentors. KSB’s specialty physicians uniformly demonstrated a willingness to teach young family doctors the nuts-and- bolts of their specialties. KSB’s nursing and ancillary staff embraced these young doctors. Importantly, the U of I family medicine residency in Rockford (where Dixon residents spend their first year) has been highly supportive.
The leadership of the Dixon program through the years has been by Drs. Tim Appenheimer, Merry Demko, and most recently, Greg Reckamp. Melanie Rick has excelled as our residency coordinator from the earliest days.
Of our graduates who have not stayed in rural settings, several have gone on to successful subspecialty training or faculty careers at such institutions as University of Wisconsin, UCLA, and Yale.
We are especially proud of those Dixon RTT graduates who have chosen to establish their careers in our region: Drs. Poonam Sachdev, Sameer Jain, Emilee Bocker, Joyce Johnson and Nicky Eustace.
The answer is no longer tentative: “Can young physicians receive top-notch family medicine specialty training in a rural environment?” Our answer is an unqualified “Yes”.