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The Maine Track: Addressing the Primary Care Physician Shortage Head On

A uniquely Maine curriculum and reserved and subsidized slots for Maine students are just two of many innovations in place at a partnership between Maine’s largest hospital, Maine Medical Center, and Tufts University School of Medicine.  Tufts and Maine Medical Center jointly recruit and select students in the co-governed program that awards a combined diploma from both organizations.  Twenty of the 36 slots are reserved for legal residents of Maine, students attending Maine colleges, or students from adjacent New England states or similar locales to encourage participants to establish medical practices in Maine.

Students attend Tufts for their first two years and spend their entire clerkship period in year three and portions of the monthly rotations in year four at Maine Medical Center. The program’s curriculum, called the Maine Track, prepares students for rural and small town practices and is emphasizing the team-based patient care approach. Students also have the option of pursuing dual degrees, such as MD/MBA, MD/PhD, and MD/MPH.”This is not the usual affiliation between a medical center and a medical school,” says Vincent S. Conti, Maine Medical Center president and chief executive officer. “This is a true partnership, co-developed and equally governed and managed by the two organizations. It is a unique approach to find a solution for what is becoming a national crisis: a lack of physicians, specifically primary care physicians, and especially in rural areas.”

Are medical schools, hospitals, and systems in your market collaborating to find local approaches for addressing the physician shortage?  If not, should they?