Some ideas for getting more docs for North Dakota

If you’re not sick of reading about rural health care yet, here’s a list of suggestions from Dr. Richard Johnson, the Devils Lake radiologist who inspired the rural health care story. I found the list, dated April 15, while cleaning out my desk and thought it worth repeating here since some of the ideas are either being considered, been considered or are already in effect in some form.

Here’s his list, verbatim, with my comments in brackets.

  1. Med students/school outreach to high school (middle school) science departments (monthly) for communities in North Dakota. [He's well aware of the scrubs camps that introduce students to a health care environment, but it appears he thinks more outreach is needed.]
  2. Admission committee selection demographics —- re-examine geography, grades, age, experience commitment of applicants. [Med school dean Joshua Wynne said he is thinking of something like affirmative action for rural students, as mentioned in the previous post.]
  3. Conditions of admission to School of Medicine …. Paybacks in service to to the state of North Dakota.
  4. Tuition waivers/grants [This is now in effect with the RuralMed program, which offers free tuition in exchange for five years of service in a rural area. The goal, though, is to select individuals who would likely stay much longer than that. Notice that this combines nicely with No. 3.]
  5. Two-year M.D. program-Nurse Practitioners/Physician Assistants with 5 years experience and roots (home/husband/family) in a rural community …. 2 per year. [I mentioned this in the previous post, but I see Dr. Johnson's got it more fleshed out here. I'm not sure how you can use the "roots" requirement; it seems legally sketchy. But length of service in a rural community could be a good substitute.]
  6. UND senior med student/resident clinics on Native American Reservations … win, win.
  7. Examine INMED …. closely with regards to serving North Dakota. [Indians into Medicine is a well-regarded program at UND. Here He's saying it could have some requirement to serve on reservations in the state.]
  8. Allocated admission slots …. 2 students each quarter of the state …. per year.

1 from towns with less than 10,000 …. 1 from towns less than 5,000. [This goes beyond just affirmative action, but goes into quotas. The RuralMed program has eight slots and Dr. Wynne's argued that that's a kind of quota, though I'm not sure the rural residency requirements are spelled out explicitly like this.]

Let’s make it work!!

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