The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine is expanding its program to St. Joseph, Missouri, to address the state’s rural physician shortage. UMKC received a $7 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to start the new program in January 2021. HRSA, the primary federal agency for improving access to health-care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable, will pay out the grant over four years.
The need is great in the United States – the American Association of Medical Colleges projects a shortage of nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032, with primary-care physicians making up almost half of this shortage. And the need is especially great in Missouri: the state has 250 primary-care health professional shortage areas, including 109 of its 114 counties. It ranks No. 40 among U.S. states in terms of health.
Typically, physicians remain in the areas where they go to medical school, and 80 percent of UMKC School of Medicine students are from Missouri and the surrounding counties, said Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., dean of the school. “The disparities in care in rural areas result in higher rates of death, disability, and chronic disease for rural Americans have intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic. Expansion of our medical school to the northwestern region of our state will serve to bridge this gap, knowing that students training in rural programs are three times as likely to remain in practice in those areas.”
In addition to the grant, the expansion is possible because of a partnership with Mosaic Life Care, located in St. Joseph. Mosaic is one of the largest private rural primary-care networks in the U.S. and a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Students will be able to learn and train in Mosaic’s rural healthcare network.
UMKC has a successful track record of creating rural health education programs in Missouri. The UMKC School of Pharmacy includes satellite campuses at the University of Missouri in Columbia and Missouri State University in Springfield.
This is an abbreviated version of a larger story written by Stacy Downs, Assistant Director of Strategic Communicatins