KCUR News
8:43 am
Thu November 11, 2010

UMKC Expands Medical Residency Programs

Kansas City, MO – The University of Missouri-Kansas City will soon be training more doctors.

The school of medicine has received a nearly four million dollar grant through the recently passed federal health law to expand its residency programs. The funding will add two additional training slots to the school's family medicine and internal medicine programs.

Dr. Todd Shaffer directs the residency program for family medicine. He says the new residents will do some of their training at nearby rural hospitals.

"And the goal is during that three years where they spend some time at that site, they will hopefully decide they will want to stay in that site when they finish," says Dr. Shaffer.

Dr. Shaffer says the state is currently facing a major shortage in primary care doctors. Meanwhile he says Missouri, along with the nation, have experienced a big drop in family care training opportunities over the past decade. Programs have closed, he says, as more and more students choose to specialize.

This new stream of federal money will create a total of 82 residency slots across the country. Dr. Shaffer says the expansion is a good start, but he says it's not enough to meet the growing need.

He also says encouraging residents to practice in Missouri once they've finished the program remains a big challenge. He says unfreezing Missouri's loan repayment program for doctors who choose to practice family care within the state is critical.

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