Shortage of doctors a growing concern in Oklahoma

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: December 15, 2011

OSU officials also are looking for ways to train doctors for underserved locations. Howard Barnett, president of OSU-Tulsa and the OSU Center for Health Sciences, said the university hopes to establish a pipeline for placing doctors in rural areas.

However, the school has run into difficulty placing its students in residency positions at Oklahoma hospitals. Many Oklahoma medical students end up doing residencies in nearby states; they often settle in towns near where they did their residencies.

The OSU Center for Health Sciences, which hopes to grow from 96 students to 190 in five years, will seek funding from the Legislature for residency positions at hospitals in rural areas. As the college grows, it will become more important to give those students the chance to complete their residencies and stay and practice medicine in the state.

“We don't want to graduate doctors just to go to other states,” Barnett said.

Money again will be tight in the next legislative session. Yet the financial needs of these schools should be given close attention if Oklahoma is to make progress in reducing its physician shortage.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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