Hannibal Regional Healthcare System Awarded Federal Grant to Establish new Rural Residency Program


Last week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded nearly $11 million to 15 awardees to strengthen the health workforce by establishing new residency programs in rural communities.   Hannibal Regional Healthcare System is one of those recipients, receiving a $750,000 grant. “Training residents in rural areas leads more medical school graduates to stay and practice in rural settings,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “There's a shortage of doctors across the nation, especially in our most underserved communities, and these rural residency development grants will help address this shortage.”

Nearly 70 percent of areas designated as primary medical Health Professional Shortage Areas are in rural areas. Physician shortages, poverty, and geographic isolation contribute to lack of access to care and poorer health outcomes for rural Americans. By working with key partners in a 13-county area, Hannibal Regional aims to create a sustainable Graduate Medical Education Program which will benefit the more than 150,000 residents in those areas. Counties served by this program will be: Marion, Ralls, Pike, Shelby, Lewis, Monroe, Adair, Macon, Randolph, Knox, Scotland, Schuyler, & Linn. “Through HRSA’s decades of work supporting access to health care in rural communities, we know that rural residency programs help ensure that qualified doctors train and stay in the rural communities that need them,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. 

The project funded by the grant begins immediately, with a target date of July 1, 2026 for new internal medicine residents to begin their residency at Hannibal Regional. The program will be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and will effectively train physicians to practice in and meet the clinical needs of rural populations. Hannibal Regional President & CEO Todd Ahrens shares, “We as an organization are always looking for ways to bring high quality healthcare to more residents of northeast Missouri. As we continue to grow our services and locations, we are also looking for ways to grow and expand the workforce pipeline. This grant will help us attract, train and retain more healthcare providers to our service area; in turn benefitting area residents that turn to us for expert, quality medical care.”

HRSA provides equitable health care to the nation’s highest-need communities. Their programs support people with low incomes, children, parents, rural communities and others. This includes over 30 million people in underserved communities and more than 1,800 rural counties and municipalities. Partnering with HRSA on this project will help Hannibal Regional meet critical healthcare shortages in northeast Missouri. For more information about the rural residency program at Hannibal Regional, call (573) 629-3577.