International Medical Students And Young Physician Program Benefits

By Christine Thomas

While there are currently physicians and specialists working in rural areas, towns and cities, there is still a major shortage of primary care doctors and others in the United States. In fact, according to experts in the field of demographics, it is likely the country will need up to 120,000 additional specialists, general practitioners and others by the year 2030. In response, the international medical students and young physician program has now been set up in the United States.

The country is hopeful that many of those involved in the program may actually assist in overcoming the crisis. In fact, recent reports show that those enrolled in the program are more likely to go into a general practice or primary care, especially in areas where medical care is limited, or in some cases, non-existent. After which, it is hopeful more students will desire to focus on these areas in the future.

The shortage also exists due to the limited number of positions available at residency programs all across the country. For, while there are many residents registered in specialty programs, those opting to work in general practice are few and far between. At the same time, more people are now insured and seeking out medical attention than ever before in history. As a result, there will be a need for more doctors and specialists in the coming years.

With this being the case, it is now forecast that over the coming 12 plus years, the 65 and over population will most likely grow by fifty percent. Whereas, estimates show the population under the age of eighteen will only grow by 3 percent during that same period. Considering the fact that older people utilize health care at increased rates compared to younger individuals and the number of physicians approaching retirement, the demand for additional health care providers will most likely continue to increase.

The crisis is greatest in rural, urban and underserved areas such as those with small community hospitals and clinics. In fact, a number of small cities and towns such as Arcata and McKinleyville, California have a hard time keeping doctors beyond the hours to complete a residency. Whereas, others refuse to take positions in these areas due to the cost of housing, or lack of services in the area.

Medical students whether still in school or beginning a residency are also adding to the issue by refusing to work as a general practitioner or primary care physician whether as part of, or during a residency at clinics and hospitals nationwide. For, in many cases, these individuals experience higher volumes of clients and lower pay scales than in other areas.

A number of medical schools in America train physicians at local University hospitals focusing on a specific area. As a result, doctors working at these locations are often taught more about specialized practices rather than primary care. In addition, most feel that if primary care physicians are a necessity, there should be a special program focused on that area.

In an effort to assist with the shortage, one of the most renown medical schools in the world, St. George's now supplies a number of primary care physicians to the United States. For, the school believes that by exposing students to more outpatient environments and community health centers, the students and the United States will benefit by overcoming what appears to be one of the biggest shortages of primary care and general practitioners in history.

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