Friday, January 19, 2018

Training the Next Generation of Providers

GREENVILLE, January 2018 – In 2013, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) projected there would be a shortage of 20,400 primary care physicians by 2020, nationally. With the expansion of the Affordable Care Act, the number increased to 45-50,000 by 2025 with some estimates as high as 90,000. Rural and underserved areas feel the biggest impact of the shortage as clinics struggle to recruit and retain the clinical workforce necessary to meet patient needs.

In response, Family Health Services has taken a proactive role in finding solutions for Darke County. Engaging the right candidates and exposing them to rural healthcare through emersion and education are the highest priorities. Their hope is students walk away more informed and feel at home, professionally, in a rural healthcare setting. Family Health’s vision is not limited to primary care physicians, but also extends opportunities to physician assistants, nurse practitioners, dental residents, pharmacy students, and even high school students who may be considering a career in the medical field.

Family Health recently partnered with Wright State’s Boonshoft School of Medicine through the Wright Rural Health Initiative. The goal of WRHI is to increase the number of physicians choosing to practice in rural areas. Lori Martensen, Director of the initiative, shares Wright State’s perspective, “The shortage of physicians in rural areas such as ours is reaching critical levels, and Wright State is addressing the issue head on. The Boonshoft School of Medicine provides students the opportunity to do rotations in rural areas, as well as makes a concentrated effort to recruit students who are more likely to one day practice in a rural area.”

Through the initiative, medical students rotate through rural hospitals, clinics, and physician offices staying 4-6 weeks to experience healthcare in each setting first-hand. It helps them see the variety of conditions they will treat in the office and the leadership roles available to them in the community. They get a sense for how they can make a difference in and beyond healthcare. Erica Seabold is in her current WRHI rotation at Family Health. She says, “Working as a student with Family Health has opened my eyes to the practice of family physicians and their longitudinal relationships with their communities and patients that improve patient care.” Since 2016, Family Health has hosted 6 students from the WRHI.

In the last year, Family Health has hosted 21 dental students, 2 dental residents, 7 medical students, 9 nurse practitioners, 4 physician assistants, 6 Pharm D students, 3 pharmacy interns, 3 first year pharmacy students, and 3 high school students. Family Health hopes to add a program for optometry students, soon.

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