University Business September 2016 - 8

OnTopic Q&A with Barbara Ross-Lee By Tim Goral Prescription for the doctor shortage A medical college finds an innovative way to bring physicians to underserved populations The Association of American Medical Colleges projects that the United States will be short nearly 95,000 doctors within the next 10 years. That shortage is projected to be most acute in Southern states. In response, private medical schools-even institutions hundreds of miles away-are looking into opening satellite locations on the campuses of public universities. Barbara Ross-Lee, dean of the New York Institute of Technology's New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, says a partnership with Arkansas State University will send 115 new doctors into the field each year, most of whom are likely to remain in the South. The first African-American woman to be appointed dean of an American medical school, Ross-Lee says collaborations like these offer the best chance to fill the looming doctor shortage. UBmag.me/doctor 8 | September 2016 Why there is such a shortage of doctors? It's a pipeline issue. The number of young people who are being trained to become physicians has remained at pretty much one level for many years. It was further complicated in the late '90s when there was concern that we were going to have an oversupply of physicians. So strategies that were put in place to address that, particularly as it related to residency training, stalled any growth. And then, within a few years it became clear that, in fact, we didn't have a potential oversupply. We had a potential undersupply of physicians. From that point on there have been efforts to increase the number of students who are part of the pipeline to become physicians. But those efforts ran into problems too. Initially, the existing medical schools attempted to increase their class sizes significantly in order to increase the production. But much of medical education occurs in the clinical setting, so the availability of clinical training also becomes an issue. You can't increase the number of students if you don't have a clinical base to train them in, as far as hospitals and ambulatory care clinics. Why is the shortage greater in Southern states? Because they don't have a major production of physicians. Our ability to attract students into the primary care disciplines has been a challenge all by itself. That's why in the Southern states- and to some extent in the Northwest- they don't have medical schools, so it's hard for them to supply the physicians they need per capita. We have found that students tend to stay and practice in areas where they train. Therefore, it's important to bring the training to the areas that have the most critical needs. That's what's happening in Arkansas. The state has one medical school, and while that one school has been very effective, the need overwhelms its ability to address the physician workforce. So, bringing additional training into Arkansas will make a difference. That's where New York Institute of Technology comes in. Is the focus on recruiting local students or bringing outside students to Arkansas? Our target is to recruit from Arkansas and the Delta region states, mostly because we know those are the students who will stay and practice in those states that are experiencing the greatest shortages. I would think a lot of people would want to pursue the medical field. Actually, we clearly have enough applicants. We have a large candidate pool. But, frankly, the issue is there is a lot of debt associated with medical education and it's a long lead time. It takes seven years-four years of medical school and www.universitybusiness.com http://www.UBmag.me/doctor http://www.universitybusiness.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business September 2016

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