2 Tennessee educational institutions partner to address physician shortage

Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., and Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro are banding together to help increase the number of physicians working in rural areas of the state, according to an MTSU report.

The private medical college and public university signed an agreement earlier this week.

Under the agreement, students will be able to get a bachelor's degree at MTSU and a medical degree at Meharry over a six-year period, MTSU President Sidney McPhee, EdD, said in the report. He noted this will hasten the production of physicians, with students spending three years at each institution.

In the report, Dr. McPhee and Meharry President James Hildreth, MD, PhD, said the program's joint admissions process and criteria for selection has yet to be determined. However, their goal is for students to start the program at MTSU beginning fall 2018, the report states.

According to the report, program participants could receive financial aid if the state follows through on a $750,000 commitment— "if they commit to working in underserved areas of Tennessee for a specific duration to be determined."

"It is imperative to increase the number of primary care physicians in the state and to incentivize them to practice in underserved areas if Tennessee is to improve the overall health of its citizens," Dr. Hildreth said.


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