Thursday, August 27, 2015

Oklahoma State University receives grant to train more doctors for rural and underserved areas

Oklahoma State University officials on Wednesday announced the school has been awarded a six-year, $3.8 million Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust grant to launch six medical residency programs to address a shortage of physicians in rural and underserved areas, Barbara Hoberock reports for the Tulsa World. Of the state's 77 counties, 64 are experiencing doctor shortages. "The program is expected to produce 36 new doctors a year beginning in 2021, when it is fully implemented. The total project is $9.4 million, which includes federal matching dollars of $5.6 million."

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who said the state is consistently ranked near the bottom in national health rankings, said many state doctors are nearing retirement age, with 20 percent of the primary care physicians in rural Oklahoma older than 65 and more than half older than 53, Hoberock writes.  Fallin told Hoberock, "One of the top hurdles for improving our health is access to care and not having enough doctors in the state of Oklahoma.” (Read more)

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