Monday, May 04, 2015

Maine Track Program aims to increase number of physicians in rural areas in Maine and other states

A medical program in Maine emphasizes rural and small-town medicine in an attempt to interest students in remaining in state or in practicing in rural areas in other states, Nick McCrea reports for the Bangor Daily News. The Maine Track Program, a partnership between Tufts University School of Medicine and Maine Medical Center, has had 95 students complete the program in three years, with 24 practicing in state, while others are practicing in rural areas in other states.

"About 30-40 percent of Maine Medical Center residents decide to stay in Maine when they graduate, and officials hope that retention rate will increase to as much as 75 percent as the program continues," McCrea writes. "Maine has struggled to attract physicians. The state ranks next-to-last in the country in terms of students entering medical school programs, putting Maine hospitals and rural medical practices at a disadvantage when trying to attract doctors." Maine, which has the largest percent of rural population, is also the oldest state.

"The program also provides an up to $25,000 annual scholarship for up to 20 students, helping to offset some of the high costs of attaining a medical degree," McCrea writes. On Saturday 34 medical students, who will graduate in a few weeks from Tufts, were recognized for completing the program. (Read more)

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