Foundation and MDH Help Physicians Start Careers
[MMA News Now, May 24, 2012] The Minnesota Medical Association Foundation (MMAF) and the Minnesota Department of Health's Office of Rural Health and Primary Care (ORHPC) will help two physicians begin their family medicine practices in underserved rural communities this summer.
“This is a great opportunity to grow the primary care workforce and increase access to care in rural areas of the state,” said Dennis Kelly, MMAF CEO.
MMAF and ORHPC have selected Andrea Westby, M.D., and Robert Jeske, M.D. to participate in the Rural Physician Loan Forgiveness program, which gives new primary care physicians up to $100,000 over four years to help pay down educational debt. As part of the program, the physicians commit to practice in underserved communities in rural Minnesota for at least three years.
Westby will practice at Perham Health/Sanford in Perham. Westby, a 2009 graduate of the University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine, will complete her residency at Allina/United Family Medicine in June 2012.
Jeske will practice in Wabasha, Minn., at the Wabasha Clinic, part of the Mayo Clinic Health System. Jeske, a 2009 graduate of the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, is now at the La Crosse (Wis.) - Mayo Family Medicine residency and will complete his training there in June 2012.
ORHPC grants these awards through a competitive process, which includes a review by a panel of health care professionals that ranks all applications. The panel seeks to identify applicants most likely to flourish in rural practice by assessing their interests, life experience and training in rural medicine.
This year, the panel found several qualified applicants, but ORHPC had funding available for just one. The MMAF, which works to improve health and health care in underserved communities, committed to match the state’s $100,000, making room for a second award.
To contribute to the MMAF, visit the Foundation’s website.