The chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska-Omaha is touring the state and talking to Nebraskans.
Jeffrey Gold says the conversations help him to determine how the university system can best assist the state’s residents.
“I spend a good deal of my time criss-crossing the state, listening to the needs and to the goals of local communities,” Gold says, “and finding ways the university, our health care systems and our partners can be helpful.”
In medicine, Gold says workforce shortages remain a primary concern in many Nebraska communities.
“In some areas recently, it’s physical therapy,” Gold says. “In another area, it’s primary care physicians. In another area, it’s women’s health and OB-GYN. It does vary quite a bit.”
Gold says about 85% of UNMC’s enrollment is made up of students from Nebraska and it’s important to encourage them to go back and serve their home communities.
One program offers scholarships and pipeline programs in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and other vital medical professions — the Rural Health Opportunities Program.
“That is aimed at a number of things, but most importantly, to be sure we have rural students from rural communities that are enrolling in the health professions,” Gold says, “with the highest hope they’ll return back to those communities.”
Gold says the outreach is being done at a time the university and medical school are having to significantly cut their budgets.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice