Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Residency program created to fill doctor shortages in Montana's rural areas graduates first class

The University of Montana Family Medicine Residency Program, created in 2012 to fill doctor shortages in rural areas, graduated 10 new medical doctors on Sunday, Ellie Baty reports for KTVH in Helena. Five of the graduates have accepted jobs in rural areas in Montana, while the other five will work in rural areas in other states. In Montana 53 of 56 counties are federally recognized as being underserved.

The three-year program, affiliated with the University of Washington Family Medicine Residency Network, "welcomed its inaugural class of 10 residents in the fall of 2012, with the first year of the program beginning in July of 2013," Baty writes. "It is the only family medicine residency program in Western Montana." When the program began "Montana ranked 50th in the nation for graduate medical education per capita. The creation of the program more than doubled the number of family medicine physicians being trained in Montana each year."

Dr. Ned Vasquez, founder and director of the program, told Baty, “Rural communities in our state tend to have a challenging time consistently recruiting doctors to come and practice in those towns. Creating residency programs is one of the major ways of satisfying those needs, because residents tend to stay in the vicinity of where they do that training." (Read more)

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