Training program

Missouri residency training program to help ease doctor shortage

Almost every county in Missouri faces a doctor shortageand Joplin’s Ozark Center for Behavioral Health gets a financial boost to help train the next generation of Missouri psychiatrists.

The US Department of Health and Human Services awards $155 million to teaching health centers nationwide that run primary care residency programs. The Ozark Center receives $2.4 million.

Carole Johnson, the administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, said she was pleased to see the centers doing the work needed to expand these programs. “You have to be able to demonstrate that you have the personnel to do the training, that you have the predecessors,” Johnson explained. “That you have all of these critical parts in place for us to get good qualified clinicians through these programs.”

In addition to medical and dental programs, particular emphasis has been placed on psychiatry residencies, in hopes of providing underserved communities with better access to mental health services. The funding comes at a time when healthcare workers are facing burnout in large numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hope for the programs is that resident physicians will then stay to establish their practices in the communities where they are trained.

According to Johnson, health center leaders believe this program will create a conduit to health care personnel. But she thinks it will also help young healthcare professionals understand what it’s like to work in different settings. “We want them to know what it’s like to work with clients who are having difficulty getting child care or getting transportation to the clinic for their medical appointment” , Johnson pointed out. “To really find out how to provide care for people who lead complicated lives and who have other difficulties accessing health care services.”

The bulk of the funding for these prizes comes from the US bailout, approved by Congress in March 2021.

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