Colorado is not immune to the affects of fewer rural doctors. According to doctors at University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, it is estimated that although 20 percent of our national population lives in rural areas, only 10 percent of doctors practice in those communities.
The UCD School of Medicine has hopes of bringing more doctors to these underserved parts of our state. The Rural Track program works by enrolling medical students who show interest in studying rural care, into a program that will offer them more hands-on training. Students in this program attend workshops earlier in their education than most in medical school.
"What we try to do is during their four years of medical school provide them with experience and mentorships to keep that spark alive for future use in rural practice," said Dr. Mark Deutchman, a professor at UCD School of Medicine.
Mentoring internships each summer give them real life experience at a rural clinic in Colorado.
Michelle Lizotte is starting her second year in medical school. She spent one month this summer getting hands-on medical training at a health clinic in Elizabeth.
"My summer has been great. I've been able to do pretty much whatever I'm comfortable with; physical exams, histories, labs, everything," said Lizotte.
She says the program is making a difference. "I'm even more interested in it. The first year of med school kind of shakes you up a bit. It kind of makes you question if this is what you want to do. With this summer program it has solidified me even more and given me more ambition to go into this field," said Lizotte.
Lizotte's summer mentor, Dr. Uri Goldberg, is encouraged to know that this program is impacting students and may bring more doctors to a field she prefers. "It's the ideal practice for me. It reminds me of the old time doctors where you got to do a little bit of everything," said Goldberg.
When school resumes this fall, a total of 66 students will be part of the Rural Track Program.
For more information, visit Rural Track Program
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