The University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine has expanded to St. Joseph and the local extension has plans to grow.
The UMKC School of Medicine-St. Joseph plans to extend its program to 80 medical students looking to practice in rural medicine in the next four years.
The UMKC School of Medicine partnered with Mosaic Life Care and saw an inaugural class this January of 20 students who will study and practice clinicals within the walls of the hospital for a four-year stint. Each year, UMKC plans to bring a new class of 20 students who have a desire to work in a rural setting.
As it is a four-year program, the number of students will cap out at 80 after the program proceeds through the next four years.
“Our students have classroom space here in Mosaic for basic science classes, and then they rotate and see patients with mosaic physicians,” Dr. Steve Waldman, UMKC School of Medicine vice dean said.
The students expanded the UMKC School of Medicine’s MD program by twice the size. According to applicant records there were 2,000 applicants for the program and 40 were selected with 20 at the Kansas City campus and 20 at Mosaic Life Care.
The students have moved to St. Joseph and will call the town and the hospital home for the next four years.
“I come from a rural town, and I would like to return to a rural town, and I think staying in St. Joseph, a little smaller than KC, it will help because we’ll get used to rural medicine through our curriculum,” UMKC School of Medicine-St. Joseph student Will Obert said.
Dr. Davin Turner, Chief Medical Officer for Mosaic said the hospital was selected due to it’s great resources, and he believes the opportunity for medical students to study at the hospital for four years can help ensure doctors stay in the region.
“When it comes to the School of Medicine — this is for St. Joe — I believe (it’s) a great thing,” Turner said. “We will have one medical school back in St. Joseph, it’s been since like 1912, since we had a medical school here. This will be a way to grow our own.”
Turner said eventually the goal will be to have post-graduate opportunities to have residencies within the hospital.
Waldman said this education will be specifically designed through location and curriculum to cater to the needs of rural health care, and hopes this can provide a shot in the arm to rural health care.
“There’s no shortage of students that are interested in rural Primary Care Medicine, the challenge of the hospitals is a little bit different because we’re behind the curve, there’s a real shortage of health-care providers,” Waldman said.
UMKC picked St. Joseph and Mosaic Life Care over other options in rural settings within the state of Missouri. The school settled with Mosaic due to the location, as well as the resources, at the hospital, Waldman said.
Abigail Bowser, one of the 20 students, said she is excited to be in St. Joseph and the group of students already has built camaraderie. She also is excited about the hands-on experience that she will gain.
“The opportunities here at Mosaic are fantastic. I’m particularly interested in cancer and there’s a cancer care center. We just have the same amount of opportunities provided at a smaller setting up here,” Bowser said.