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Med school loan repayment program places doctors in Michigan’s underserved areas

Newly graduated doctors have an opportunity to cut $75,000 from their medical school loans in exchange for working in Michigan’s underserved areas, thanks to an innovative state-funded program called MIDOCs.

MIDOCs, supported by a $5 million appropriation by the state Legislature in Fiscal Year 2019, will add select Graduate Medical Education residency slots in medically underserved areas of Michigan. The program aims to attract and retain physicians in the state by offering up to $75,000 in loan repayment to each MIDOCs participant in exchange for a two-year, post-residency commitment to practice in a rural or urban underserved setting in Michigan.

“Helping physicians to stay in our state to practice medicine will make Michigan a healthier place in the long run and ensure access to care in all communities,” said Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “It will also empower medical students to choose a career based on impact rather than financial necessity, allowing them to commit their career to helping the underserved.”

Partnering institutions for MIDOCs include Central Michigan University College of Medicine, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine and Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.

“My district and communities across the state need more primary care physicians,” said State Sen. Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford). “This program will not only create the physicians we need in the communities that need it the most, but will also help ensure they stay in those communities after their training is complete.”

Of Michigan’s 83 counties, 90 percent have at least a partial designation as a primary care physician shortage area. While the number of medical schools in Michigan has increased in recent years – graduating the most doctors in history – the number of Graduate Medical Education residency slots remained capped until the MIDOCs program. In MIDOCS’ inaugural year, eight residency slots have been designated for 2019.

“This innovative legislation and collaborative effort expands capacity in residency programs. It provides unique financial incentives for new doctors to choose to practice in primary care and commit to care for medically underserved regions and patients,” said State Rep. Mary Whiteford, (R-South Haven), chair of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee. “MIDOCS represents a new avenue for the state to support participating medical schools in a highly targeted and effective way.”

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The MIDOCs program is an initiative of the MIDOCs Consortium, a partnership of medical schools at Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University. MIDOCs was created to address the physician shortage in Michigan by increasing the number of residency slots; to increase access to care in high-need, rural and urban underserved areas throughout the state by retaining residents to practice in these communities after their training; and to help alleviate crushing medical school debt for doctors practicing in Michigan’s medically underserved communities.


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