Three Sisters Rural Track Program

A healthier Central Oregon, now and for generations to come.

Rural communities across the nation face a critical shortage of primary care doctors and the same is true for Central Oregon. Our region’s health and well-being is in jeopardy. 

This shortage can lead to patients driving long distances for care or visiting the emergency room with routine concerns. Long wait times can also make health problems worse or cause patients to forego care all together. 

Relying on recruitment alone does not work well, because there are simply not enough doctors. Estimates show a shortage of more than 100 primary care doctors in the tri-county area by 2030.

After decades of working to address this issue, health care leaders got creative. St. Charles Health System, partnering with Mosaic Community Health and Indian Health Services in Warm Springs, has created the Three Sisters Rural Track Program. It’s the first graduate medical education program in Central Oregon. This program creates a pipeline of uniquely trained doctors that will significantly transform health care access in Central Oregon.

Doctors applying for this program desire to specialize in rural family medicine which, includes: 

  • Primary Care

  • Family Birthing

  • Emergency Medicine

  • Behavioral Health

  • Hospital Medicine

These doctors spend the first year of their residency at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and the following two years treating patients at St. Charles Madras, Mosaic Community Health Madras, and Indian Health Services in Warm Springs.

Doctors in training will immediately improve access to health care in Jefferson County when they begin arriving in 2025. Each doctor will care for approximately 300-400 patients, serving 900+ in the first year of the program, and this number will grow as more doctors graduate from the program.

health care professionals

3 doctors

Seeing 900+ patients per year
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6 doctors

Seeing 1,800+ patients per year
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graphic with health care personnel

23 doctors

Seeing 20K-40K patients per year
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Statistics show that roughly 55 percent of doctors stay within a 100-mile radius of their residency program site. This means within 10 years, the program is estimated to generate 23 doctors who would reside and care for patients across the region, serving 20,000 – 40,000 more people.

*Source: Fagan EB, Gibbons C, Finnegan SC, Petterson S, Peterson LE, Phillips RL Jr, Bazemore AW. Family medicine graduate proximity to their site of training: policy options for improving the distribution of primary care access. Fam Med. 2015 Feb;47(2):124-30. PMID: 25646984.

How you can help

By making a gift to St. Charles Foundation in support of the Three Sisters Rural Track program, you not only invest in the future of health care services in Central Oregon, you invest in the recruitment, training and education of doctors who may care for you, your loved ones, or your neighbors in their greatest time of need.


Learn more about how you can advance the future of health care in Central Oregon.

Email Angela Saraceno