This article is a contribution from 3RNet and is a result of the co-NOSORH and 3RNet workforce committee. Our thanks to Dr. Randy Longenecker and the RTT Collaborative for their help putting this article together. 

The RTT Collaborative has changed over the last several years. This national effort started with the Rural Training Track Technical Assistance Program, which focused on rural training tracks across the county. In 2012, the RTT Collaborative broadened its focus to include all rural-focused education. Today, Dr. Randy Longenecker will tell you, “We are laser focused on education and training that happens in rural places—meaning the education is IN rural places—but is also FOCUSED on preparing a workforce for rural communities. ‘RTT’ has become a moniker for training rural, even as the term includes programs that are not prototypical rural training track residencies in family medicine.”

So, what’s important to know about the RTT Collaborative today?

The RTT Collaborative is a nonprofit, board-directed cooperative of rural programs that to-date has included: rural training tracks, medical schools, rurally located and focused residency programs, and surgery fellowships. Any program with a vested interest in rural health can participate in the Collaborative, including rurally located and focused programs in other health professions (e.g. nurses, pharmacists, and physician assistants). The Collaborative has engaged other stakeholders in rural health professions education and training: AHECs, State Offices of Rural Health, and the National Rural Health Association – through participation in their annual meetings and educational webinars.

What are some of the benefits of supporting the RTT Collaborative?

Supporting the RTT Collaborative means supporting rural education and an infrastructure for “growing our own together”. The RTT Collaborative currently has resources specific to rural medical education, like their Free Tool for Determining Community Capacity for Residency Education. Dr. Longenecker also provides both formal and informal consultation to help answer questions like: How do I create or grow a rural program or rural training track?

What else can I get from the RTT Collaborative?

In addition to the wealth of knowledge that can be found either on the RTT Collaborative website or by attending an Annual Meeting, the RTT Collaborative has several ways to communicate all they know about rural programs:

  • Follow them on social media. They are active on Facebook ( and Twitter (@RTT_Collab).
  • Subscribe to their quarterly newsletter through the RTT Google Group. Click on “Join the RTT Collaborative listserv as an individual” on this web page. This will open an email for you to send to get added to the list.

For additional benefits, visit this link: RTTC Participation Requirements 2017-2018.

How can I engage with the RTT Collaborative?

Their website is a great place to start! Promoting the website and driving traffic there is a great way to support the RTT Collaborative. On the site, they have a great list of other ways you can get involved:

Longenecker highly recommends attending the RTT Collaborative Annual Meeting to learn more about rural education and get involved. “There are many rural programs that have done great things, and no one knows about them. Our conference is a platform for people to share those stories.”

By joining the Google group/newsletter signup you’ll also receive information about the Annual Meeting, which incorporates experiential learning (i.e. going and seeing a rural program) as part of their in-person education event.

Growing Our Own, Together

Similar to how organizations like NOSORH and 3RNet came together to further efforts in rural health, the RTT Collaborative has grown into an organization to help us “grow our own, together,” as Dr. Longenecker puts it. “Rural places often try to grow their own, but I believe we do that better if we do it together.”

Learn more about the RTT Collaborative by visiting

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