MARQUETTE - Twelve medical students from the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Upper Peninsula Region are receiving first-hand experience practicing rural family medicine while training alongside area physicians this spring.
The eight-week Rural Physician Program also affords the medical students the opportunity to reside in the community in order to get a flavor for small-town living.
While the MSU College of Human Medicine U.P. Region is one of six campuses across the state providing clinical training for medical students, the RPP is unique to the U.P. campus. Each year, a handful of students are selected for the RPP, which offers enriched training to students who have an interest and passion for providing care to patients in rural, underserved areas. These students complete two years of coursework at MSU College of Human Medicine campuses in either Lansing or Grand Rapids before coming to Marquette General Hospital for their third and fourth years of training.
Michigan State University College of Human Medicine students currently training at locations throughout the Upper Peninsula include, from left, Mike Kulju, Leah Heron, Sarah Bjorkman, Megan Heinlein, Kurt Bjorkman, Brig Voight, David Finkbeiner, Stephanie Rutterbush, Eric Sturos, Alison Case, Chelsey McNabb and Drue Webb. (Photo courtesy of Michigan State University)
Students and their training faculty and locations are as follows:
"They have been eagerly awaiting this rotation, as it gives them a chance to experience what it's like to be a physician in a rural U.P. community," said Patti Copley, MSU College of Human Medicine U.P. Region Community Administrator, in a written statement from Marquette General Hospital.
"We couldn't do what we do without the support of the rural physicians who serve as volunteer faculty. By sharing their time, wisdom and energy, they are investing in the future of healthcare in the Upper Peninsula, and we couldn't be more appreciative of the key role these rural doctors play."
With the ongoing shortage of physicians practicing in rural locations, the program takes on an even more important role. These RPP participants have all indicated an interest in practicing rural medicine and it is the hope that some choose to practice in the U.P. upon completion of their training. Fifty-two MSU College of Human Medicine U.P. Region graduates have gone on to practice medicine in the Upper Peninsula, with more returning after residency training each year.
The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine - Upper Peninsula Region (formerly the Upper Peninsula Health Education Corporation) works in conjunction with Marquette General Health System to coordinate the training of family medicine residents and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine medical students.
Since its inception in 1978, 234 medical students and 169 resident physicians have graduated from the two programs.