An aging population of doctors has schools focusing on keeping graduates in Iowa

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Those with the University Of Iowa Carver College Of Medicine said an aging population of people practicing medicine is bringing a shortage of doctors nationwide.

An aging population of doctors has schools focusing on keeping graduates in Iowa

On Friday a new class of 152 medical students walked the aisle as part of the “White Coat Ceremony”. Families and friends clapped and cheered as their loved ones took the next step to be able to practice medicine, but for many people, getting to this point isn’t easy.

“I actually came here to play football,” said Ryan Ward UI Medical Student.

Ward started taking classes in Exercise Science when he realized his passion.

“Anatomy and physiology courses made me want to get into clinical work,” he said.

Getting to this stage wasn’t easy. Ward said he didn’t get into medical school when he first attempted last year.

“I had to do more volunteering,” Ward said.

This ceremony is just the first day of what could be another four years of school. The next step is deciding where you want to practice. With a shortage in the state of Iowa, specifically in rural Iowa, those heading up the UI Medical Education program want to keep their graduates in the Hawkeye State.

“During medical school, we give them exposure to Iowa,” said Dr. Chris Cooper, Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education. ‘We get them exposed to rural Iowa. When they will do family medicine rotations they all go out and work one on one with a family medicine preceptor.”

Doctor Cooper said 35% of the last graduation class stayed in Iowa. However, Ward and others are more focused on school starting than where they will practice.

“Working with actual patients, that got me into a clinical career,” Ward said.