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New Program Seeks to Impact Primary Care
Physician Shortage in U.P.
Portage Health and UP Health Plan
Play Key Role with Contributions
Houghton, MI: It is estimated that there will be a shortage of 30,000 doctors in the U.S. by 2015 when retiring baby boomers will need them the most. In the Upper Peninsula, many primary care physicians are planning to retire in the near future, but are concerned about who will care for their patients after they’re gone. TIP (The Integrated Medical School and Family Medicine Residency Program), a new program recently introduced at the U.P. Campus of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (MSU-CHM), addresses this issue and has tremendous support from Portage Health and the Upper Peninsula Health Plan.
TIP looks to fourth-year medical school students who seek to enter Family Medicine and offers an opportunity to advance their training and an incentive to commit to Family Medicine. In the U.P., that commitment involves the Family Medicine Residency Program (FMRP) in Marquette as well as additional clinical experience in outlying areas.
Michelle Riccio, Tim LaBonte and Tom Massie are all currently fourth year medical students at MSU-CHM and have been accepted into the program. 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.
Riccio and LaBonte both have family ties to the Keweenaw and are grateful for the opportunity to train at Portage Health System. They both feel fortunate to be mentored by dedicated volunteer physicians and staff during their internships.
“Medical education is the key to our future,” according to Jim Bogan, President and CEO of Portage Health. “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 (UPHEC) facilitates the MSU-CHM U.P. Campus training, and Patti Copley, Community Administrator for the U.P. Campus, envisions the program growing in the future and keeping the U.P. physician pipeline filled.
“This initiative is one that gives medical students who have an interest in a primary care specialty the incentives and support they need to make this choice a good one for them.
I am thrilled to have three students take advantage of this opportunity,” Copley said.
“Our hope is that in the long run, we will end up with well-trained, qualified docs who are able to spend their careers providing care to their neighbors here in the U.P.”
Photo Attachment: Patti Copley, Community Administrator joins medical students Michelle Riccio and Tim LaBonte of MSU-CHM in thanking Jim Bogan, President and CEO of Portage Health System for his support of the TIP Program.