July 25, 2013 10:09:36 AM
Appreciates help of doctors in 'growing' more doctors
This summer local physicians provided a vital learning experience for a number of Mississippi high school students. On behalf of Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Rural Medical Scholars of 2013 I would like to thank the following Columbus and Starkville physicians: Dr. Barry Bertolet, Dr. Benjamin Blossom, Dr. Steven Brandon, Dr. Jacob Brown, Dr. James Brown, Dr. R. Allen Butler, Dr. Steve Carroll, Dr. Walter Cosby, Dr. Justin Garner, Dr. Amit Gupta, Dr. Jan Furniss, Dr. David Irwin, Dr. Van Lucas, Dr. Ben Sanford, Dr. Jacob Skiwski, Dr. Pamela Sykes, and Ms. Deree Webb, nurse practitioner, and her colleagues at the MSU Longest Student Health Center. Their contribution to these students and to the future of health care in our state is sincerely appreciated.
These doctors provide opportunities for students taking part in the Rural Medical Scholars program to observe their medical practice. The program, which began in 1998, is directed by Mississippi State University Extension Service; its objective is to "grow local docs" for the state of Mississippi. The scholars attend MSU for five weeks, take two pre-med courses, and spend several afternoons shadowing physicians. The students gain insight into the academic requirements necessary to becoming a physician coupled with a real world look at the day-to-day practice of medicine. Today, 21 of our graduates are practicing physicians, a number are currently in medical school, and numerous others are pursuing careers as nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, etc.
Scholars come from throughout the state; doctors in Columbus, Starkville, West Point and Tupelo volunteer to provide shadowing opportunities - a critical element of the program that helps the scholars answer the question "Do I really want to be a doctor?" Mississippi has the next to lowest doctor to population ratio in the country; thanks so very much to these physicians who are working to improve that condition.
Bonnie Carew, Ph.D.
Mississippi State University
The writer is director of the Rural Medical Scholars program.