Project Description Narrative:
Nationally, concern is rising regarding the adequacy of the primary care workforce in underserved and rural communities, with leading organizations predicting a national shortage of physicians by 2020. Medical schools have been producing decreasing numbers of primary care physicians and physicians who practice in rural reas, while an aging and overburdened rural workforce is exacerbating the shortage. This shortage will have a profound effect on access to health care, including longer waits for appointments and the need to travel farther to see a doctor. The elderly, the poor, rural residents, and the 20% of Americans who are already medically underserved, will face even greater challenges as a result.
In the U.S., the average primary care physicians per patients is 59 per 100,000, whereas Wisconsin's average ratio is 68 primary care physicians per every 100,000 residents. Studies have shown that in Wisconsin, these shortfalls will occur most significantly in rural and underserved urban areas of Wisconsin. Evidence has shown that a physician is more likely to practice in an underserved community if she or he comes from a similar background and has undergone positive clinical and educational experiences in such a community during undergraduate and post-graduate training.
Through this award, the Medical College of Wisconsin will develop an innovative, immersive teaching model to address the need for primary care physicians in underserved Wisconsin communities and launch community-based medical education programs in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin.