This Rural Mission is a podcast that discusses pertinent topics related to rural community health and social issues around the state of Michigan. Each episode highlights rural providers, medical students, and community members who are making a difference in the lives of rural residents.
Welcome to Season Four of This Rural Mission. We're excited to connect with you again and talk more about the wonderful things that rural communities have to offer and the impact our leadership and rural medicine students and graduates are making for these communities. I'm your host, Julia Terhune and let's get started.
Last season, we highlighted how COVID-19 affected residency, and I thought it might be time to talk about residency and what we as a college have been doing to impact the rural workforce.
Now residency, well medical education as a whole, was a totally foreign concept to me before I started with this job. In fact, that foreign understanding is actually something we're going to talk about again this season. Why am I spending so much time talking about this? Well, I think that if we all understood the complexity of training that our doctors undergo, we might better understand the necessity and the resource that they are, especially for our rural communities. So here it goes, here is my brief recap of how doctors are trained. Four years of undergraduate work, specifically in the sciences, test number one, the Medical College Admission Test, four years of medical school, two board tests, residency with board exams throughout their entire training, three years to seven years of residency, depending on what field they go into, plus possibly fellowships. No, they don't make a whole lot of money during this residency. No, they aren't done with their training. No, they haven't learned everything. Yes. They still are under the jurisdiction of other doctors. Yep. They're still learning. And yeah, it's a lot of work.
And all of this getting into undergrad, getting into medical school, and getting into residency is earned. It's not a given. You have to have the grades, the volunteering, the research, the personality, the drive, and then be accepted by the programs that you are applying to. It's a big deal. Now it's also a big deal to have a residency in a rural hospital. That's because residencies are sponsored by universities and housed in hospitals that can provide the number of faculty, aka other doctors, and clinical patients to help students finish their training, which means they need to have a lot of both of those things.
In Michigan, we have some rural residencies in family medicine. They are located in Marquette and Traverse City primarily. Midland also has a residency program, which at its start was rural, but the county's population has increased to turn Midland county urban. But that limitation of rural residency is changing, both in geography and in specialty. This is all thanks to the fantastic work of our legislators, medical schools, and hospital partners throughout the state. Thanks to a program called MIDOCs, M-I-D-O-C-S, more primary care doctors are being trained in rural and underserved urban areas than ever before. So let's hear about how this program came to be from Jerry Kooiman, our Dean of External Relations at MSU College of Human Medicine.
Yeah, so it goes back probably eight years ago, a number of medical school, government affairs folks got together and started talking about graduate medical education and the need for residency's really to be in parts of the state that we weren't training residents now, at that time. And in areas of residency focus that are lacking in the state of Michigan, in particular primary care. And so we began meeting, we met with legislators and began saying what if, and so the legislature gave us some planning money in one of the budget years. And we began to put together, out of research, our research in terms of what are the needs out there, just to make sure that we were data-driven, where are the parts of the state rural, urban, across the state and what are those disciplines that really are shortage areas for health professions. In the UP, psychiatry was their number one issue. In Traverse City in Northern Michigan psychiatry was their number one issue.
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