Rural American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities face physician vacancy rates over 25%. A variety of programs aim to address those gaps, from early-life STEM initiatives for AI/ANs to physician loan repayment programs. However, unfilled clinical positions and underrepresentation of AI/AN physicians persist. We review existing workforce initiatives, then demonstrate that three recently developed clinical fellowship programs fill an important gap. The fellowships, led by faculty at large academic health centers, place fellows in clinical positions in rural AI/AN communities in partnership with tribal health systems and/or the Indian Health Service. In addition to providing clinical care, the fellowships seek to enhance health systems' capacity development through community-centered initiatives that include training and health promotion. Other academic health centers should consider working together with tribal communities to assess whether replication of the models could reduce local physician staffing gaps and health disparities.


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pp. 442-455
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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