BILLINGS, Mont. -

The Billings Clinic is unveiling Montana's first internal medicine residency program in an effort to provide the state with more primary care doctors.

At full capacity, the three-year residency program will produce as many as six doctors a year and have up to 18 internal medicine residents enrolled.

The program's goal is to have doctors trained in the state remain in Montana.

The Billings Gazette reports the program has been accredited for three years by the Chicago-based Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

The Association of Montana Health Care Providers says at least 52 counties have a shortage of primary care physicians.

Program director Dr. Robert Bush says the program will teach methods for providing care to Montana's rural communities.

The first six participants are to begin July 2014.