WARM Program attracts doctors-in-training to rural areas


As the aging population continues to rise, the demand for doctors goes up along with it. Smaller areas around the country are most effected by the doctor shortage.
In Healthwatch, Chelly Boutott tells us about a program that is helping train future doctors for rural medical facilities.

The Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine or WARM program is designed to attract future doctors to rural communities to help combat the doctor shortage.
It is an education program within the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.  Aurora BayCare Medical Center is one of it’s extension campuses.

Sarah Gray is a 4th year medical student .  She felt a calling to help people and save lives after being a paramedic for two years, “I just  wanted to keep learning and I saw a need for really strong physicians who understand what it’s like out in the field,” said Sarah Gray, medical student in WARM program.

Sarah is part of the WARM program.  Emergency physician Darren Heesacker is medical director of emergency education at Aurora BayCare Medical Center, “The WARM program is initiated by the University of WI Madison with the idea that we need to have better representation of rural physicians and more importantly the understanding of the challenges associated with rural medicine,” explained Darren Heesacker, is medical director of emergency education, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

In the hopes the students choose rural medicine when they become doctors, “There is definitely a shortage of physicians nationwide and part of the service we have as physicians locally is try to attract these physicians back to smaller areas,” said Dr. Heesacker.

Sarah chose the WARM program because she wants to practice rural medicine, “I was up in the UP which is a very rural area and I was really attracted to that field to continue rural medicine because I saw this great need,” said Sarah.

The WARM program offers Sarah more hands-on, personalized learning opportunities she wouldn’t get at a larger hospital, “Here there is just a handful of medical students at any one time and lots and lots of physicians with lots of knowledge. In those big cities, in the big academic centers there’s lots of medical students, there’s lots of residents who are training so everyone is competing for those learning opportunities,” explained Sarah.

Doctor Heesacker says the program is working great, “We have seen physicians who have gone through the program circle back and are practicing in Green Bay.”

Which is what Sarah has planned for her future, “I see myself coming back probably to Northeast Wisconsin because that’s where my family is and working as an emergency physician at a place like this.”

The students are also sent to rural clinics as part of their training.     

Sarah is currently interviewing for residency positions in emergency medicine.  

To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email healthwatch@aurorabaycare.com. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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