In terms of physician shortages, rural communities are suffering the most, so medical schools are aiming to increase physician services throughout rural America.
“There are 62 million rural Americans, and only about 10% of physicians today practice in rural areas,” said Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Assn. “Throw on top of that the Affordable Care Act — the numbers are going in the wrong direction.”
Medical schools are focusing on placing future patient care providers rurally, to ensure healthcare does not die in small U.S. towns.
Some tactics medical schools have been using, as reported in the American Medical News, include “identifying students from rural backgrounds through the admissions process or as early as high school; others are providing students a breadth of experience in rural medicine during medical school by opening campuses in small towns and cities to immerse them in rural settings.”
“I think of rural medicine as an exciting challenge where creativity and ingenuity play a large role in getting patients the care they need,” said medical student Adam Amos, studying at the Indiana University School of Medicine’s Terre Haute-based campus.
“Whether it’s working through the strong sense of self-sufficiency and pride that patients often have in the rural setting or getting patients needed resources that simply aren’t available, it takes a knowledge beyond just the medical to really help your patients.”