University of Iowa works to combat nationwide physician shortage

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) Whether it’s a common cold or chronic health problems like diabetes people rely on doctors, but a nationwide shortage of primary care physicians may make it harder to get in the door to see a doctor to get those problems fixed.

The Association of American Medical Colleges found in a study total demand for physicians is projected to grow by up to 17 percent by 2025. It expects a shortfall of between 12,500 and 31,100 primary care physicians by 2025.

Assistant Dean of the University Of Iowa Carver College Of Medicine Greg Nelson says the hospitals are asking for more doctors.

"There is a great demand. We survey all of the hospitals and providers in the state of Iowa every year and this last year was probably the highest demand in family medicine that we've seen in the last ten years or so," Nelson said.

Doctors and professors with the University of Iowa medical school have been working to get more students interested in primary care.
One program called the Rural Iowa Scholars Program addresses the increasing physician shortage in rural areas of the state. It repays student loans of four students every year.

Nelson says rural areas don’t always appeal to medical students as much.

"The lifestyle attractiveness is a little more challenging in a rural community,” Nelson said.

He says the a main goal of the program is to keep those doctors practice in the state of Iowa.