Rural health grant largest in School of Medicine’s history

The grant will allow the School of Medicine to address doctor shortages in rural Missouri.

$5 million in grant money will soon be flowing into the MU School of Medicine to improve programs in rural Missouri, the school announced.

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration grant will come in two parts, both intended to improve existing health programs within the state.

The larger grant, $4.2 million over four years, will expand the Rural Track Pipeline Program. This program teaches students from high school through medical school the specific health needs and concerns associated with rural healthcare and has been in place since 1995, Kathleen Quinn, associate dean for rural health in the School of Medicine, said.

“The grant will build on a successful 25-year-program by further educating students and preceptors through the development of medical school curricula, clinical training site partnerships, and faculty development programs,” Quinn said.

The second HRSA grant, totaling $750,000, will go towards a rural residency program in Sedalia slated to begin in 2022. This residency program will be the school’s first in rural Missouri.

The funding that comes from the grants will not solely be focused on one area of the medical field, but rather the school aims to produce comprehensive solutions that impact multiple areas of rural healthcare, Quinn said.

“The grant will make contributions statewide to hospitals, students and providers,” Quinn said.

Quinn said that these grants and the programs they fund are intended to have a positive impact on the state as studies show an expected sharp increase in demand of healthcare professionals, especially in rural areas of the state.

The Missouri Hospital Association expects that there will be a shortage of up to 49,300 primary care doctors by 2030, according to a 2018 study. The same study found that rural Missouri residents have less than half as many doctors per capita as urban residents do.

“The overarching goal is to increase the number of primary care physicians who practice in underserved communities in Missouri,” Quinn said.

Chase Cline, a freshman who is planning on attending medical school, sees an opportunity to address the doctor shortage with these grants in place. He said that students can see that there will be jobs available, and with support from grants might be less hesitant to attend medical school.

“With the shortage of medical professionals in the near future, these kinds of grants provide excellent opportunities for people who otherwise may not be considering med-school for financial reasons,” Cline said.

Cline also said he believes undergraduate students should be excited about grants coming into the School of Medicine, and he sees this as another way for MU to make its case to prospective new students, both graduate and undergraduate.

“I’m sure for those deciding between different schools this will be a major factor in their decision making,” Cline said. “If I had known about this before coming to Mizzou, I think it would have made me want to pursue my higher education here even more.”

Edited by Laura Evans |

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