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All told, Roanoke Memorial's trauma center sees more than 2300 patients annually. Daniel Lollar, M.D., is a general surgeon who came to Roanoke because of the outdoors scene and because he believed he could make an impact as a physician, given the need for rural medicine providers. Read more: Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

Roanoke Memorial offers Western Virginia's only Level 1 trauma center, which is the highest designation a trauma center can receive. This attracts a large swath of the surrounding area's population into Carilion's network, and helps make Roanoke a destination for medical researchers despite the rural setting. In the last decade alone, the volume of cases received by the clinic's trauma center has increased by over 120 percent.

The Medical Home model is only one of the programs sponsored by Carillion Clinic's Department of Family and Community Medicine. Patients are additionally encouraged to attend classes, lectures and community outreach programs. Anthony Stavola, M.D., is the department's Vice Chair and has worked for the clinic for 26 years. Read more: Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

In 2007, the heads of Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic, along with former Governor Tim Kaine, announced the public-private partnership that would establish the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. The institute now researches everything from regenerative medicine to substance abuse.

Patients in the Medical Home model set healthcare goals for themselves and work with physicians to prevent the development of chronic illnesses. Read more: Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

As part of a the nationwide Healthier Hospital Intitative, Carilion Clinic is working to diminish the health care system's impact on the environment. Sara Wohlford, Carilion Clinic's sustainability manager, stands on the green roof of one of the clinic's downtown facilities. Read more: Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

What makes the model unique is that patients are assigned a "care team", which allows physicians and nurses to get to know their patients over time.

Devin Dill flies a Life-Guard helicopter over Roanoke Valley. Established in 1981, Life-Guard is Virginia's first air medical service and currently operates three helicopters in the region.

One quarter of the population, but only 10 percent of physicians, lives in rural America. At the same time, rural residents are more likely to rely on food stamps, die in a car crash, and smoke tobacco. In rural areas, there are fewer specialists per person, more residents over the age of 65, and a significantly higher suicide rate. This disparity between health services and health needs may seem logistically unavoidable.

The partnership Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech attracted more physicians to Roanoke and enabled the clinic to expand its operations. In addition to offering a greater number of locally available specialists, the clinic has given new focus to prevention and wellness programs. One program, the Medical Home model, is a patient-centered approach to primary care. Walter Ray Summerlin is one of those patients, and is receiving care from Kimberly Reburn.