Finding Rural Doctors Can Be Difficult. AdventHealth Found a Way to Solve the Problem.

Sebring, FL - AdventHealth Sebring is the only hospital in Highlands County partnering with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) to provide rotations for third year medical students. Research shows it can be difficult to recruit family medicine physicians to live and work in rural areas such as Highlands and Hardee counties; and the struggle to hire and keep physicians in these communities can mean some patients choose to go without care since it is not conveniently located close to home. AdventHealth and LECOM are working to close the gap.

“It is our goal to train and keep the next generation of doctors to help us meet the growing health care needs of our community,” said Dr. Bindu Raju, Chief Medical Officer of AdventHealth Sebring. “The ability to partner with LECOM allows us to work together and build a program that provides third year medical students the experience and all the necessary tools to help us continue to provide the highest quality of care to our rural neighbors.”

LECOM medical students currently rotate through several hospital departments under the supervision of board certified AdventHealth physicians in the AdventHealth Sebring emergency room, operating rooms, and AdventHealth Medical Group physician practices. Studies show medical residents trained in rural areas are more likely to practice in rural areas and will practice close to where they train.

“I believe rural medicine can be an extraordinary career for a doctor who truly wants to make a difference and has a sense of mission,” said Dr. Anthony FerrettiAssociate Dean of Clinical Education at LECOM. “We feel at LECOM it is important to allow our students to have the ability to evaluate that career choice.”

AdventHealth Sebring is currently home to more than a dozen LECOM medical students. This is the third year for the program with LECOM students.

To further expand the opportunity, AdventHealth Sebring is seeking accreditation for a Family Medicine residency program to begin accepting medical students from colleges across the country as early as spring of 2020.


About AdventHealth West Florida Division

The West Florida Division of AdventHealth has some of the nation’s brightest medical minds making lifesaving breakthroughs with surgical pioneers, scientists and researchers using leading edge technology and innovation to deliver our brand of whole-person care. Our network of care includes AdventHealth Carrollwood, AdventHealth Connerton, AdventHealth Dade City, AdventHealth Lake Placid, AdventHealth North Pinellas, AdventHealth Ocala, AdventHealth Sebring, AdventHealth Tampa, AdventHealth Wauchula, AdventHealth Wesley Chapel and AdventHealth Zephyrhills, as well as three freestanding offsite Emergency Rooms including AdventHealth Central Pasco ER, AdventHealth Palm Harbor ER and AdventHealth TimberRidge ER. We are more than hospitals, as we have a robust system of care including specialty acute care, over 200 primary care and specialty employed physicians, Express Care at Walgreens clinics, urgent care centers, wound care, physical therapy and home health care. AdventHealth is a faith-based not-for-profit health care system with a mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ. AdventHealth has hundreds of care sites and nearly 50 hospitals across the United States. For more information about AdventHealth, visit, or, and for West Florida Division, click here.