Massachusetts General Hospital Rural Medicine Program
Explore This Program
Welcome to Massachusetts General Hospital’s Rural Medicine Program.
Our mission is to address health injustice by promoting the equitable distribution of teaching hospital resources in solidarity with rural community partners.
Since 2016, our team has been working in partnership with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, or, in the Lakota language, the Sicangu Oyate. We are deeply grateful to the Oyate to have been given the opportunity to do this work. Our first goal is to be good partners to the community.
A just and equitable health care system.
The program’s mission is to address health injustice by promoting the equitable distribution of teaching hospital resources in solidarity with rural community partners.
Our Program’s History
In 2012, after the release of a U.S. Senate report detailing management issues in the regional health system, the Indian Health Service (IHS) approached Mass General’s training programs. Mass General team members met with the health leadership of the Sicangu Oyate, who reside on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Todd County, South Dakota. The health leadership stated that sending physicians to the IHS would be the top priority for partnership.
Todd County, the site of the IHS’s Rosebud Service Unit, is one of the counties with the lowest median income in the United States. Age-adjusted mortality rates are among the highest in the nation. Todd County's remote location compounds its challenges.
On September 1, 2016, doctors from Mass General began working full time at the Rosebud IHS. Since then, Mass General has continued working with the Sicangu Oyate and the IHS to bring excellent health care and good health to the community. Today, the Mass General team has grown to include core faculty, fellows, rotating residents and two year-long volunteers based on Rosebud.
Mass General works to maintain three providers, staffing the Rosebud Indian Health Service Unit each week. Participants include fellows, faculty and outside physician partners. Mass General regularly facilitates resident physician and medical school rotations with the IHS, with a goal of developing the local health workforce.
Meet the team of the Rural Medicine Program.
Fellowship in Rural Health Leadership
The Mass General Fellowship Program in Rural Health Leadership empowers early-career physicians to become leaders in partnering with challenged communities to improve health systems.
Resources in Rural Health
Learn more about topics in rural health.
- National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)
The oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities
- NCAI Policy Research Center
A think tank focused on issues facing tribal communities
- Rural Health Information Hub
A national database for academic articles, funding opportunities, and data visualizations on rural health issues
- National Indian Health Board
Represents Tribal governments—both those that operate their own health care delivery systems through contracting and compacting, and those receiving health care directly from the IHS
- National Rural Health Association
A national nonprofit membership organization providing leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research
- Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board
An organization representing the 18 tribal communities in the four-state region of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa
Our team’s published works:
- Chapter 10: Pancreatic Cancer Genetics, Cancer Genetics: A Clinical Approach edited by Jason Malley and Christina M. Thomas – McGraw Hill, 2022.
- Screening for Hepatitis C Virus by Wenger HC, Cifu AS and Kim AY – JAMA, July 2021.
- Pharmacist and Prescriber Responsibilities for Avoiding Prescription Drug Misuse by Stephanie Sun and Bruce D. White – AMA Journal of Ethics, June 2021.
- Covid and Rural Communities…What you need to know from the experts! (Video File) featuring Matthew Tobey – Stoney Ridge Farmer, May 2021.
- So about the COVID-19 Vaccine! I have questions (Video File) featuring Stephanie Sun – Brian’s Farming Videos, April 2021.
- Can Indian Health Service Referrals for Nonemergent Care Be Allocated Equitably? by Hannah Wenger and Jo Henderson-Frost – AMA Journal of Ethics, March 2021.
- The Impact of COVID-19 on American Indian and Alaska Native Communities: A Call for Better Relational Models by Mary J. Owen, Michael A. Sundberg, Jackie Dionne and Anna Wirta Kosobuski – American Journal of Public Health, January 2021.
- Racialization as a Barrier to Achieving Health Equity for Native Americans by Vikas Gampa, Kenneth Bernard and Michael J. Oldani – AMA Journal of Ethics, October 2020.
- Implementation of the Navajo fruit and vegetable prescription programme to improve access to healthy foods in a rural food desert by Michael A Sundberg, Abigail C Warren, Joan VanWassenhove-Paetzold, Carmen George, Danya S Carroll, Leandra Jewel Becenti, Akeemi Martinez, Burrell Jones, Karen Bachman-Carter, Mae-Gilene Begay, Taylor Wilmot, Henrietta Sandoval-Soland, Onagh MacKenzie, Lindsey Hamilton, Memarie Tsosie, Caitlyn K Bradburn, Emilie Ellis, Jamy Malone, Julia Pon, Ashley Fitch, Sara M Selig, Gail Gal and Sonya S Shin – Public Health Nutrition, August 2020.
- Opioid and Amphetamine Treatment Trends Among American Indians in the Great Plains by Julian A Mitton, Sean Jackson, Janet Ho and Matthew Tobey – Journal of Addiction Medicine, July/August 2020.
- The 2019 Partial Government Shutdown and Its Impact on Health Care for American Indians and Alaska Natives by Matthew Tobey, Katrina Armstrong and Donald Warne – Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved, February 2020.
- Developing Graduate Medical Education Partnerships in American Indian/Alaska Native Communities by Michael A. Sundberg, Damon P. Leader Charge, Mary J. Owen, Krishnan N. Subrahmanian, Matthew L. Tobey and Donald K. Warne – Journal of Graduate Medical Education, December 2019.
- Evaluation of Barriers to Telehealth Programs and Dermatological Care for American Indian Individuals in Rural Communities by Anna M Morenz, Siobhan Wescott, Arash Mostaghimi, Thomas D Sequist and Matthew Tobey – JAMA Dermatology, August 2019.
- Incidence of Hip Fracture in Native American Residents of U.S. Nursing Homes by Omar Amir, Sarah D. Berry, Andrew R. Zullo, Douglas P. Kiel and Tingting Zhange – Bone, June 2019.
- Physician Workforce Partnerships in Rural American Indian/Alaska Native Communities and the Potential of Post-Graduate Fellowships by Matthew Tobey, Omar Amir, Jason Beste, Paul Jung, Sriram Shamasunder, Michael Tutt, Sachita Shah and Phuoc Le – Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, May 2019.
- American Indian Health in South Dakota—A Health Systems Case by Matthew Tobey, Chana Sacks, Daniel Foster, Dennis Norman, Susan Karol and Patrick Lee – MedEd Portal, August 2014.