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Many Medical Students Remain in State after Graduating



By Chris Hassan
Posted May 09, 2012 10:23 PM

After graduating, many doctors remain in state.
After graduating, many doctors remain in state.
Following the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, it is likely that more people will enter the healthcare system to receive medical treatment. Unfortunately, more patients create the need for greater numbers of physicians, which is something many states do not have. In fact, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reports that by 2015, the country could be facing a shortage of about 63,000 doctors.

Conditions have the potential of worsening in the future, according to the AAMC, as the physician shortage could reach 130,600 by 2025.

As a result, state officials have an interest in attracting students to medical schools within the state so they can first earn their Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. Then, there is the hope that these physicians will remain in the state to practice medicine following the completion of their studies.

This is the case in Georgia, which is seeing the most critical shortage of doctors in rural areas, WSAV reports. At Mercer University’s School of Medicine Savannah campus, there is a focus on identifying students who are willing to work in rural areas and fill this need.

Of this year’s graduating class, six Mercer medical students will remain in Savannah to complete their residency, while 13 of their classmates will train in other locations throughout Georgia, according to WSAV. However, in order for students to remain in state, residency programs need to have enough openings.

"The federal government and others who traditionally funded residency programs aren't increasing the number of spots they're funding so there has to be other mechanisms." Phil Malan, dean of Mercer’s Savannah campus, tells WSAV. "So students who have gone to high school here and have gone to college here and have gone to medical school here are very likely to stay. So the more of these pieces we can put in place the better we do as far as keeping physicians."

WSAV states that next year, hundreds more residency slots are expected to be available for Mercer medical students.

In Louisiana, graduates of the Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Medicine and the Tulane University School of Medicine recently found out where they will be completing their residency, according to WWL-TV. A total of 108 out of 171 LSU graduates will remain in Louisiana, while only 35 out of 177 members of Tulane’s graduating class will do the same.

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