Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Program sends rural Nebraska students to medical school, increases rural health care providers

A partnership formed in 1990 between the University of Nebraska Medical Center and three state colleges—Wayne State College in the northeast, Chadron State College in the west and Peru State College in the southeast—has been working to reduce the state's shortage of rural health care providers by "guaranteeing chosen high school students from rural Nebraska entrance into medical school," Nick Hytrek reports for the Sioux City Journal. (Journal photo by Jim Lee: Program participant Dr. Natalie Reader owns a dental practice in Ponca, Neb.)

Students are under no obligation to practice in rural areas, but of the program's 420 graduates, 65 percent are practicing in Nebraska, and 73 percent of those graduates are in rural areas, Hytrek writes. "Nebraska students who grow up in rural areas—basically anywhere outside Lincoln, Omaha and its suburbs—are eligible. Once accepted, they're given full-tuition scholarships at Wayne, Chadron or Peru. The bigger bonus: they're guaranteed a spot in medical school once they complete their undergraduate requirements."

Todd Young, a physics and astronomy professor and the program coordinator at Wayne State, told Hytrek, "That's really the main prize is that they have a seat waiting for them at UNMC." (Read more)

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