HANCOCK - It's estimated that a shortage of about 30,000 doctors in the United States will occur over the next few years due to retiring baby boomers, and health entities, such as Portage Health in Hancock, aim to plan ahead for the shortage.
The Integrated Medical School and Family Medicine Residency Program (TIP), a new program recently introduced at the U.P. campus of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, addresses this issue and has support from Portage Health and the Upper Peninsula Health Plan, said Jim Bogan, president and CEO of Portage Health.
"This program is an integrated medical school and residency program combined," Bogan said. "They're taking the medical school that we've had for a long time and incorporating the family medicine residency program at Marquette General."
Bogan said the program seeks students who have an interest in family medicine, creating a relationship between the medical students and the residency program.
"Portage, for many years, has been a clinic site," he said. "We've provided a training ground for many of their medical students and now with this program, we'll be more actively involved at the residency program level."
TIP offers an opportunity to advance their training and an incentive to commit to family medicine. Michelle Riccio, Tim LaBonte and Tom Massie are currently fourth-year medical students at MSU-CHM and have been accepted into the program, per a release. The three have begun sub-internships within their community hospital systems. After graduation from medical school next spring, they will begin their three-year residency training at the FMRP in Marquette and all three have indicated their desire to remain in the U.P. to practice family medicine.
In a release, it's stated, "Riccio and LaBonte both have family ties to the Keweenaw and are grateful for the opportunity to train at Portage Health. They both feel fortunate to be mentored by dedicated volunteer physicians and staff during their internships."
"This program is very important, when you look at the estimated shortage of doctors in the country in five to seven years," Bogan said. "Medical education is the key to our future. Our practicing physicians are mentoring these students, and are critical in their training. As the students learn, they also develop ties and relationships that grow their desire to stay in the U.P."
The Upper Peninsula Health Education Corporation was formed in 1974 to coordinate the training of physicians as a campus of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The organization has grown and expanded to play a leading role in health care education across the U.P., including the facilitation of the training of newly graduated physicians at the Marquette Family Medicine Residency Program with Marquette General Health System and high school students through the Area Geriatric Education Scholars Program.
Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.