University of Wisconsin medical students address urban doctor shortage

Posted at 7:03 PM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-13 20:07:01-05

There's a shortfall of doctors in urban communities. The University of Wisconsin has diagnosed the problem, and is working to fill the gap with a program sending medical students to under-served cities.

It's more than just learning medicine for these students. Triumph trains doctors to serve and engage in the urban community, and Aurora Health Care’s Dr. Alonzo Jalan is one of dozens of students who moved through the program.

"It was something that I think I and my classmates were really just wanting for a long time," he said.

It’s for University of Wisconsin 3rd and 4th-year med students.

"Definitely eye opening, one of the biggest problems we have in medicine is actually not so much the amount of doctors we have, but the distribution of our doctors," said Dr. Jalan.

Dr. Cindy Haq heads the program. She said low-income areas like Milwaukee’s south side are underserved, because doctors tend to go where the income is greater. But she says this program is for those who really want to feel rewarded.

"These are areas where there are just not enough doctors to get the job done, we want our students to understand that to be effective change agents," said Dr. Haq.

"Even my patients, I feel like they're a part of my family too actually, so an urban setting is somewhere I do what to practice in the future," said Dr. Jalan.

After completing the program, Dr. Haq says 100 percent of students move onto residency programs that focus on serving urban areas.

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