The University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska at Kearney are taking proactive steps to meet the demand for family physicians in rural parts of the state. Dr. Jeffery Hill is the Associate Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs at the College of Medicine says they have established the Kearney Health Opportunities Program. He says this is similar to what is happing at Chadron State and Wayne State in their undergraduate program.
32-percent of the rural physicians in Nebraska are over the age of 55 and many will be retiring in the next 10 years. This will leave many areas with a primary care physician. Dr. Hill says they need to start talking to rural students and get them interested in medicine. He says many of the students they will be talking to have already expressed interest. Students would have to apply to NUK and would then follow a specialized curriculum. From there, the student would go to the College of Medicine and when finished with their medical degree, they would go on to train in primary care and return to rural areas.
Five students each year will be accepted. Students will be accepted into the program in their senior year of high school. The students will receive a tuition waver for their time at UNK but will have to pay tuition and compete for scholarships once they are at UNMC.