Jacob Brendan Austin, PsyD, is a 2012 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England.

Dissertation Committee

  • James Fauth, PhD (Committee Chair)
  • Thomas Stearns, PhD (Committee Member)
  • Amanda Houle, PsyD (Committee Member)


Primary Care Behavioral Health, Rural Integrated Primary Care, Integrated Primary Care, Primary Care Physician Job Satisfaction, Rural Physician Job Satisfaction

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The job satisfaction of rural primary care physicians is of import given the crucial role these physicians play in rural health care systems and their consistent decline in numbers nationwide. The professional isolation of practicing in rural areas, particularly in accessing specialty care, creates greater burdens for rural physicians than their more urban counterparts, which likely contributes to their low level of job satisfaction. The shortage of mental health providers in rural areas in particular is thought to create a burden for rural primary care physicians, who generally neither have the time, training, nor expertise to adequately deal with complex mental health difficulties. Thus, integrated primary care—the provision of mental health services in the clinical flow of primary care medicine through the employment of behavioral health consultants—might reasonably improve rural physician satisfaction. Due perhaps to the novelty of this practice in rural primary care clinics, little research has examined this idea. This study uses a qualitative methodology—interpretive phenomenological analysis—to explore how rural physicians in integrated primary care settings experienced this innovative practice. Connections of this practice to physician job satisfaction are discussed, as are the implications toward facilitating this service in rural primary care practices. Limitations of this study are considered and directions for future research suggested. This research concludes with a personal reflection on my experience as a trainee in a rural integrated primary care clinic.