Dr. Randy Longenecker’s extensive experience as both clinician and educator have given him a strong understanding of the challenges facing physicians who choose to practice in medically underserved rural or urban areas – as well as the best ways to encourage and prepare more physicians-in-training to make this choice. In recognition of his role in helping prepare medical students and residents for practice in rural areas, he has received three national awards: the American Academy of Family Physicians Exemplary Teaching Award in 2009, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Excellence in Education Award in 2011, and the National Rural Health Association Outstanding Educator Award in 2014.
Dr. Longenecker joined the Heritage College as its first assistant dean for rural and underserved programs in 2012. In this position, he has developed the college’s Rural and Urban Scholars Pathways program, a curriculum enhancement to prepare medical students to practice effectively and sustainably in underserved communities. In 2016, RUSP saw its first five students graduate with D.O. degrees, and the program continues to grow.
Dr. Longenecker also serves as executive director of the RTT Collaborative, a national nonprofit cooperative of rural programs devoted to sustaining health professions education in rural places. Since July 2016, he has been associate project director for Rural PREP, a national collaborative for rural primary care research, education and practice.
Borne of a five-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration, Rural PREP’s aims are to conduct and sponsor research on health profession education; share research findings and best practices with rural health care educators and providers; and foster and engage with “communities of practice and research” – an area in which the Heritage College’s Office of Rural and Underserved Programs and its Department of Family Medicine are taking the lead.
In these roles and others, Dr. Longenecker has presented and published in regional, national and international venues on the topics of rural medical education, research in rural health professions education, rural health care ethics, and curriculum/program design and implementation.
Prior to joining the Heritage College, Dr. Longenecker practiced as a comprehensive family physician, including maternity care, in western Ohio from 1982 to 2012, and served as program director of Ohio State University’s Rural Program family medicine residency/rural training track from 1997 to 2011. He also has a strong background in bioethical decision-making, having served for over two decades on the bioethics committee of Mary Rutan Hospital in Bellefontaine, Ohio, during which time he led several bioethics retreats and summits.
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