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Looming Physician Shortage Backdrop Of Aspirus Scholars

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A physician and other medical college personnel shortage is forecast and one regional health provider is helping pay for students education if they stay around after they graduate.

Six central Wisconsin Medical College of Wisconsin students have been named Aspirus Scholars.

The Executive Director of the Aspirus Health Foundation, Kaylynn Pempek, says Aspirus created the scholars program about two years ago... 

"In the United States, it's predicted by the year 2035 that we will have a shortage in the United States of 130,000 physicians. That translates to a shortage of 2,000 physicians in the state of Wisconsin and a couple hundred physician shortage in north central Wisconsin...."

At that time, the Medical College created a central Wisconsin campus. Aspirus decided to join with them to provide financial rewards to students interested in returning to Aspirus after they finished their schooling and residency.

In the first year, they had one medical student and two physician assistant students. She says all six students have ties to the area...

"....research that has been done by the Wisconsin Hospital Association(and others) shows where students grow up, where they go to college, where they go to medical school is a pretty good indicator where they will locate their practices..."

When they graduate, the scholars agree to work for Aspirus for five years. Pempek says several community partners have joined in the effort to support the Scholars program, noting a physician shortage also impacts the local economy.

The four Medical College of Wisconsin-Central Wisconsin students include Alexa Ernst of Tomahawk, Bryan Miles, originally from Wausau, Hilary Steltenpohl, originally from Merrill and Aaron Weaver of Wausau.

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