Arkansas Program Trains Doctors for Rural Areas - Diverse Health

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Arkansas Program Trains Doctors for Rural Areas


by Donna Fuscaldo

In the next decade, the nation will face a shortage of primary care doctors. That will impact patients around the country, and it will be worse in rural regions that already find it hard to attract family physicians. To lessen that impact, a second Arkansas medical school opened in the state this fall, welcoming 120 students.

It matters. Arkansas has the third fewest doctors per capita in the nation. Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee leads the new med school – the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University (NYITCOM at A-State). The mission of the new Arkansas medical school is to bring future doctors to the state and, more importantly, keep them there.

“Arkansas has one of the greatest shortage of physicians of any state in the country,” says Ross-Lee, the first African-American woman to serve as dean of a U.S. medical school. “There’s only one medical school, and it can’t do the job of producing the kinds of physicians needed to deliver health care.”

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