Destroyed by Deadly Tornado, Medical Student Training Site is Reopening in Joplin
Mercy Hospital and MU celebrate new housing and educational opportunities for future physicians
When a deadly tornado ripped through Joplin in May 2011, it destroyed housing for University of Missouri medical students who trained with physicians in southwest Missouri. Nearly two years later, MU medical students will once again have a place to live and learn in Joplin.
Leaders from Mercy Hospital Joplin and the MU School of Medicine will come together at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at a hospital ceremony to celebrate the reopening of Joplin as a rural training site for future physicians. Students at the Joplin training site participate in MU's Rural Track Pipeline Program, which has helped make MU the No. 1 provider of physicians for Missouri.
"Mercy Hospital Joplin is honored to partner once again with the University of Missouri to provide educational opportunities for medical students," said Gary Pulsipher, CEO of Mercy Hospital Joplin. "The presence of these eager students brings far-reaching benefits to Joplin and surrounding health care communities for years to come."
Mercy Hospital Joplin will provide housing for medical students for the 2013-2014 academic year. The two town-home units are located three blocks from the current Mercy Hospital facility and are in the tornado recovery area. The housing, funded by Mercy, will accommodate up to eight students.
"Without this new housing, we wouldn't be able to reopen Joplin as a training site for our students," said Kathleen Quinn, PhD, director of MU medical school's Rural Track Pipeline Program and an assistant professor of family and community medicine. "Mercy's generous partnership and its dedicated team of physician educators have made it possible for us to place more students in southwest Missouri, where there is a vast shortage and a great need for health care providers."
Joplin has been a training site for third-year medical students since 2005, when a Missouri Foundation for Health grant was awarded to the MU School of Medicine to establish training sites in southeast and southwest Missouri. Students apply to complete two or three of their third-year clinical rotations in Joplin, which equates to a four- to six-month community and clinical experience. Since 2005, more than 85 MU medical students have received training at southwest Missouri health facilities through the MU School of Medicine Rural Track Pipeline Program.
Created in 1995, the MU School of Medicine Rural Track Pipeline program has become a national model for producing physicians who meet their state's needs. The program encourages physicians to complete part of their clinical education in underserved areas and to then practice in Missouri. Today, more than 500 medical students have participated in the program. Fifty-nine percent of students who participated in the program practice in Missouri, and 37 percent of participating students practice in rural areas of the state. In and outside of Missouri, more than 58 percent of participating students practice in rural areas. In comparison, fewer than 11 percent of physicians practice in rural areas nationally.
MU's pipeline is supported by higher education institutions, area health education centers, 150 community-based volunteer educators, and private health systems that use the program as a tool for recruiting physicians. MU's pipeline begins with a medical school preadmissions component for undergraduate college students who have a rural background and an interest in becoming a physician in a rural area. Approximately 80 percent of students who participated in the preadmissions program are now physicians in Missouri. The rest of the pipeline provides multiple opportunities for medical students to train and live in rural communities.
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Laura Gerding, APR