U of L gets grant to expand doctor training for under-served areas

The University of Louisville has received a $16 million federal grant help train more primary-care physicians in rural and urban areas that need more doctors who focus on family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine.

The goal of the four-year grant is to encourage young doctors with those specialties to consider practicing in under-served communities, which most Kentucky communities are.

“We know that students who train in these rural locations are more likely to practice there, and our hope is that by strengthening these programs, we’ll be able to immerse students in these communities and increase the number of primary care physicians in underserved regions across the commonwealth,” Kelli Bullard Dunn, vice dean of community engagement and diversity for the U of L School of Medicine, said at Monday’s announcement.

“We have such a need in Kentucky and all over,” said Faye Jones, associate vice president for health affairs and diversity initiatives at the UofL Health Sciences Center.

Most of the state’s 120 counties, and at least some portion of 113 of them, including parts of Jefferson County, are designated by the federal government as as Health Professional Shortage Areas. “Recent projections rank Kentucky lowest among the states in meeting the need for primary care physicians by 2025,” Darby Beane reports for WDRB.

The grant will expand U of L’s path for students to help under-served areas. The medical school will create a new program to train medical students in west Louisville and other urban communities.

The progran will be modeled on the school’s Trover Rural Track, which offers primary-care clinical training in conjunction with its family-medicine residency programs in Glasgow and Owensboro. Students in the program complete their final two years of medical school at the Trover Campus in Madisonville, part of Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville.

“According to the school, of the 170 physicians who have graduated from the Trover Rural Track so far, 75% practice primary care and 43% practice in rural communities,” WDRB reports.

“The project also plans to enhance a university program that prepares individuals with a bachelor’s degree in a different field to enter medical school. In addition, the grant will also help provide scholarships to support students in these programs.”

The grant comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration.
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