Monday, July 11, 2016

Appalachian medical school trying to draw more in-state students, compete with for-profit schools

Knowing that physicians are more likely to practice in their home state, one Appalachian medical school is trying to attract more in-state students to its medical program. About 50 to 60 percent of in-state students that graduate from the Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, W.Va. (Best Places map), remain in the Mountain State, while only 10 percent of its out-of-state students practice in West Virginia, Dr. Joseph Shapiro, dean of the school, told Taylor Stuck of The Herald-Dispatch.

Shapiro said the state's other two medical schools, West Virginia University and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, also have concentrated efforts on retaining doctors, Stuck writes. That's a big deal in states like West Virginia, which has a large rural population and a short supply of doctors. "A March 2015 report by the Association of American Medical Colleges projects that the U.S. will face a shortfall of 46,000 to 90,000 physicians by 2025," with doctor shortages higher in rural areas.

With medical school loans so high, non-profit schools are struggling to keep up with a new crop of for-profit schools, which make up about one-quarter of all medical schools, Stuck writes. Dr. Ted Epperly, who runs a family practice residency program in Boise, Idaho, that is competing with a new for-profit schools, told The Associated Press that for-profit schools look like a good deal because they bring benefits without relying on taxpayer dollars,"but it's a little bit like Walmart moving into a small community with mom-and-pop shops - it damages the existing workforce producers."

In 2015, Marshall "created an accelerated B.S./M.D. program for in-state students, which also includes a waiver for medical school that could save the student up to $20,000 or more," Stuck writes. "The program puts students on a pathway to earn their bachelor and medical degrees within the span of seven years." (Read more)

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