Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Training the Next Generation of Providers

GREENVILLE, February 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 shared in a previous article their work with Wright State’s Boonshoft School of Medicine through the Wright Rural Health Initiative to work with those looking for experience in primary care. In addition, they have recently partnered with The Ohio State University School of Dentistry and New York University with similar visions for dental students.
The Ohio State University offers a program for fourth year dental students called the Ohio Project. This program offers dental students an opportunity to apply for two week rotations in Ohio clinics working in a designated area of need. The goal is to spark interest in further involvement with safety net clinics. These clinics work with uninsured, underserved, and those with low income to decrease unnecessary trips to the emergency room while providing quality healthcare for those who cannot afford it. Family Health is designated by the department of Health and Human Services a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and automatically meets the criteria. The dental students finish their rotation with a first-hand perspective of rural dental care.

Recent graduates of dental school have the option to do a one year residency before entering into a practice full time. New York University/Langone Medical Center identifies graduates around the country looking for a residency opportunity in a safety net clinic. Family Health recently obtained qualification through NYU/LMC as an “Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency Program” thanks to the work of Dr. Mike Fourman, Dental Director at Family Health. Applicants from around the country apply to NYU’s residency program, are interviewed, accepted, and then move to the area for one year to complete their residency. Residents benefit from working under experienced dentists, while the community benefits from added capacity and the most current treatments available.

In 2015, Logan Halderman, DDS applied for placement through NYU/LMC and had such a positive experience that in 2016, he joined the Family Heath full time. In the same year, 2 students from the Ohio Project at OSU applied for the NYU/LMC residency specifically requesting Family Health. Dr. Casey Miller and Dr. Johnny Price were accepted to spend a year working under the expertise of Dr. Mike Fourman. Four students have already applied for the 2 slots available at Family Health in 2018.

The residents value the many experiences and mentor opportunities throughout the year, but more importantly, they finish with a positive experience working and living in a rural community. Whether they stay in the area or move on, they take with them the special something of Darke County that locals know in their hearts and recognize as “home”.

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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