Rural Track Program Aims to Attract Doctors to Underserved Areas

A medical residency program is hoping to attract more doctors to local areas that need them.
 
Kevin Sullivan began the UND Minot-Williston Rural Track program three year ago. Now, he’s the program’s first graduate.
 
“I really feel part of the whole medical training is to give back and I hope that I will be able to do that too,” says Sullivan. 
 
The idea behind the program, says Dr.William Small, is to train them here so they’ll stay here.
 
“This area is medically underserved. We need many more primary care doctors to take care of the people who are already here,” says Small, site director of the program. 
 
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, of the more than 500 graduates of medical residency programs in North Dakota between 2006-2015, only 3 and a half percent were practicing in medically underserved areas as of last year.
 
“This whole western side of the state potentially could benefit from this,” says Small. 
 
The program has a maximum capacity of 6 students at a time. And while there is no requirement to remain in the area following completion of the program, so far it seems to be working-
Sullivan plans to stay put.
 
“I really like the area and I like the North Dakota people so I plan on staying here for quite awhile,” says Sullivan. 
 
And after graduation, Sullivan will still be involved with the residency program. He plans to serve as a mentor to those who come after him.
 
Sullivan’s graduation ceremony will be held later this week. He then plans to work as a hospitalist at CHI St. Alexius Health in Williston. 
 

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