Family medicine physician Tommy Saborido is keeping the tradition of the country doctor alive. When he completed his residency training at UC Davis in June, he chose to work as one of the few physicians in the small rural town of Fall River Mills in Shasta County, where he's been mentored by a longtime community doctor who can now set his sights on retirement.
Doing so helps fill a gap in the need for physicians in rural areas. Barely 12% of primary care physicians practice in rural settings, which is where 20% of the population lives. The need for rural doctors is expected to increase sharply, as a significant portion of current practitioners are within 10 years of retirement age.
It also assures continuity in primary care for a population truly in need. There’s a well-documented link between the shortage of rural providers and serious health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke.
Saborido appreciates the chance to practice medicine like it was “in the 1940s and 50s when a true general practitioner did a little of everything,” and he looks forward to the special relationships he will create with his patients.
“And it’s not just in a way where I’m listening to hearts and lungs with my stethoscope, but really being there as an ear to my patients,” Saborido said. “That is what’s really satisfying to me.”