Medical Students Interested In Serving Small Towns

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Monday, July 25, 2011

"A lot of us in this new class of eight are from small towns, where we realize there is a doctor shortage," said Kayla Johnson, student from Barton County.

Growing up in small towns was just one thing the students had in common with each other. Another thing they had in common, they want to go back to small towns when they become doctors.

"Everyone, like me, realize that it directly impacts exactly what we want to do in the future, become those rural doctors, and this will be the best way for us to do that," said Johnson.

The KU School of Medicine in Salina is hoping to address the growing need for doctors in underserved areas in Kansas.

"We needed to train more physicians and they hoped by training physicians in a non-metropolitan area, that more of those physicians would be encouraged to go into practice in Kansas and specifically into the rural areas of Kansas," said Dr. William Cathcart-Rake, director of the Salina campus.

The school's director said Salina is the smallest city to host a medical degree granting school and that the community has been supportive of the new campus. About $1.3 million in financial support has been raised for the campus.

"Lot of support because they want, number one, to support a medical school in Salina, and also address the healthcare shortages in this community and surrounding communities," said Dr. Cathcart-Rake.

The students will use interactive televideo and podcasts to learn from professors and students in Salina, Wichita, and at the main campus in Kansas City.

"It seems like they really made it easy for us to talk with professors and ask questions during lecture or after lecture. I don't think it's going to be that much different from being there personally," said Erik Dill, student from Rice County.

Students will spend the rest of the week in orientation and travel to Kansas City on Friday for the annual White Coat ceremony.

There are 191 first-year students attending the KU School of Medicine, 175 in Kansas City, 8 in Wichita, and 8 in Salina. Wichita and Salina were the two new four-year medical schools to be added this year.

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