New medical college ease Wisconsin’s physician shortage

Many experts predict that by 2025 the United States will suffer from a physician shortage of 130,600. This statistic, from a supply-and-demand study conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges, is not only concerned with patient care resources nationwide but also resources at the state level. Wisconsin, a state that currently graduates 400 new physicians each year from its medical schools, is one area that is at risk for a physician shortage in the long term. In an attempt to offset the projected outlook of Wisconsin experiencing a 2,000-physician shortfall by 2030, the Medical College of Wisconsin is introducing a new program designed to get students on the fast track to graduating and beginning their healthcare careers.

New Medical College of Wisconsin

The technology-heavy program is hosted at a new medical campus within the Science Center at St. Norbert College. Supplementing the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Green Bay and Milwaukee campuses, the new 5,500-square foot campus features expanded classroom space, wall-to-wall televisions with high-definition capability, multi-directional teleconferencing devices and top-quality cameras. Aspiring physicians complete their general and specialized coursework while using this state-of-the-art technology, which enables faster completion of degree requirements and a smooth, efficient transition into practical training at patients’ bedsides.

Taking advantage of latest technology

The program, which accommodates 20 to 25 students at the St. Norbert College campus, utilizes several forms of technology for curriculum and lecture delivery. A main professor oversees each course, and guest lecturers from remote locations are able to supplement class material via a video conferencing system. Lectures that are given in real time are also recorded so that students can access them at their own discretion. The curriculum is delivered to students through various electronic devices, including smartphones, computers and tablets. A fingerprint identification system allows program participants to receive notes, class handouts and other curriculum components on these devices. Although less conventional in delivery than what is typically offered in medical school programs, the course materials used in this program are designed equally in terms of state education standards.

Tuition savings lure applicants

Applicants for this Medical College of Wisconsin program number 1,900 at present. Debuting in July 2015, the program lasts three years in duration and does not include summer breaks, a factor that enables students to spend less on tuition than they would in a longer medical school program. Those who are accepted to the medical campus and who complete their studies on time will save approximately $50,000, or one year’s worth of tuition, while simultaneously qualifying to work as physicians in Wisconsin in an expedient manner.

Partnering with leading healthcare providers

According to Maureen Mack, the college media-relations director, this technology-centered program costs $11 million to implement when all expenses are taken into consideration. In order to avoid spending additional money on a brand-new campus, yet still having the ability to provide a larger student population with adequate training and clinic space, the Medical College of Wisconsin is partnering with several health care providers and academic institutions. Bellin Health, Prevea Health, Bellin College, St. Norbert College and the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay are the establishments participating in this new program model. The innovative collaboration of the medical campus with partnering facilities is looked upon favorably by a number of health care leaders throughout Wisconsin, including Therese Pandl, the CEO/President of Hospital Sisters Health System. Pandl opines that an increase in qualified medical students can greatly benefit the quality of care that Wisconsin patients receive.

How insiders view new campus

Matthew Hunsaker, the dean of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Green Bay campus, believes that the college’s new technology-oriented program is a cost-effective and efficient way to solve the physician shortage program. He states that the curriculum is structured in a manner that allows students to hone their clinical skills early on so that they can work successfully as physicians after completing the program. Aspiring medical student, Julia Furtado, agrees with Hunsaker in regard to the importance of familiarizing future physicians with up-to-date technology. She feels that integrating technology at the classroom level prepares medical students for working with the electronic records systems used in modern professional environments. In contrast, Kyle Jackson, another pre-med student, thinks that increasing enrollment rates at medical schools may be a more effective way of preventing physician shortage in Wisconsin and other states.

What to Do When You Can’t Study Abroad

Study abroad programs give students a unique opportunity to learn about the world and people outside their comfort zones, make new friends, learn about other cultures and make contacts that last a lifetime. Over 300,000 students participated in study abroad programs last year and the numbers continue to grow. Not every student has the time, money or desire to study abroad, however. If you are one of the thousands of students who cannot participate in a study abroad program, there are alternatives that provide wonderful educational opportunities.

Other Opportunities to Go Abroad

If you cannot participate in a study abroad program but still want to experience life in another country, there are several ways you can do just that. Volunteering, interning, working and teaching opportunities are available to those who qualify.

Volunteers Needed

Countries from all over the world need help from volunteers to make a difference in the lives of the local population. Nonprofits, businesses, educational centers, religious groups, community groups and state agencies often sponsor volunteer projects. Most volunteer projects provide services to address specific community needs, such as hunger, illness, shelter, poverty and illiteracy. Volunteers with a variety of skills are needed, including physical labor, engineering, teaching, carpentry and care giving. Projects can include building community structures, planting crops, enhancing waterways and encouraging healthy lifestyles.

Teaching Abroad

Teaching abroad is a wonderful way to learn about the people of another country, earn enough to live on during your stay and provide a valuable learning resource to the native people. Teaching English is one of the most popular teaching positions available. Many programs do not require a teaching certificate. Teaching programs are available through many schools, the U.S. government and foreign institutions and organizations. Teaching positions can be short-term or last as long as two years.

Internships Abroad

Working as an intern is another great way to spend time abroad. Most school sponsored study abroad programs include intern opportunities. Interning provides an ideal way to make contacts, learn about the culture and experience your chosen field of study firsthand.

Stay At Home and Explore the World

If you want to experience something different but don’t want to go abroad, there are plenty of opportunities in the United States that offer many of the same benefits as a study abroad program. Summer is a great time to participate in a program that not only provides benefits to others, but gives you a unique opportunity to learn more about the people and world around you.

Volunteer programs in the summer offer everything from building to wildlife rehabilitation. The Appalachia Service Project is a Tennessee based program that brings volunteers together to help the impoverished people of Central Appalachia. Its main mission is to repair the homes of the region’s low-income families, but it also promotes awareness of the lives of the poor right here in America.

The Camphill Special School in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, is a school that cares for children, youth and young adults with developmental disabilities. Volunteers engage in a variety of different activities that include assisting in the school, working with residents to plant gardens and landscape and assist with construction projects. Volunteers are provided with room, board and a monthly stipend, but it’s the intangibles that truly standout. Volunteers live, work and learn in an atmosphere of cultural diversity and form strong bonds with students, workers and other volunteers. The Camphill Special School also provides internships, which are ideal for students in the education, special education, social work or psychology fields.

Several of America’s Native American nations welcome volunteers to help with various reservation projects. Montana’s Blackfeet Reservation asks volunteers to help improve the social, educational and recreational aspects of lives on the reservation. Possible projects include fixing, maintaining and building playgrounds, landscaping, library organization, painting classrooms and assisting in a nursing home.

The Anishinabe People of White Earth Reservation in Minnesota welcomes volunteers to assist them in maintaining their language, culture and way of life. Spread out over beautifully forested land where wildlife is abundant, volunteer projects include repairing community buildings, working with the youth group, planting and harvesting crops and planting community gardens.

Common Ground Relief is an organization dedicated to rebuilding New Orleans using quality construction and wetlands restoration. The group’s diverse range of projects offers something for every volunteer. Opportunities include new home construction, community gardening, wetland restoration and education and outreach about food safety and environmental issues.