The Central Michigan University College of Medicine, under the dynamic leadership of Dr. George Kikano, is a great asset to the Great Lakes Bay Region, including the Midland community.
The College of Medicine, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, began with 64 students in the first class and has had 104 students in each class since. Plans for expanding the enrollment to 130 students per year in 2021 are underway. Their graduation rates are over 95% because of the rigorous selection process and the quality of the training students receive.
This past year, there were about 7,500 completed applications for the 104 positions. There were about 6,000 applicants from outside Michigan and roughly 1,500 applications from Michigan students. It is important to note 80% of the students selected were from Michigan. That is tangible proof of the college’s commitment to train physicians from Michigan for Michigan.
Their mission is as follows: “The CMU College of Medicine educates diverse students and trains culturally competent physicians to provide comprehensive health care and services to underserved populations in Michigan and beyond. Our faculty, staff, and graduates advance health and wellness through exceptional education, innovative research, quality patient care and strategic collaboration to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities.”
It is no secret there is a physician shortage in the United States and it’s projected to get worse. In April of last year, the Association of American Colleges stated the nation faces a shortage of between 46,900 and 121,900 physicians by this year. The demand rose from 253 physicians per population in 2000 because of the aging population. Thirty-seven of the states fall below this baseline requirement. Michigan is 36th out of 50, with 284 physicians per 100,000 populations.
Of roughly 400 students, about half are first- and second-year students in Mt. Pleasant. The majority of third-year and fourth-year students are in Saginaw, Detroit or other communities in Michigan. Twelve of the third-year students are in Midland.
“The students have impressive CVs and are quite talented,” states Dr. Lydia Watson, senior vice president and chief medical officer of MidMichigan Health. “With these additions, we have increased the number of our providers who are teaching both medical students and residents. It has been a great opportunity to watch MSU and CMU students meeting each other and interacting together around our campuses. Our relationship with CMU’s College of Medicine is definitely a success.”
Everyone involved in medical education owes a special thanks to those attending physicians who are not salaried by the college and take the time to teach and serve as role models for medical students. In Midland, these physicians have been involved in the training of Family Practice Physicians for decades and now play a role in training medical students. Under the direction of Dr. Kelly Hill and staff, Midland has the second oldest Family Practice Program in the United States.
In addition to the positive economic impact of having 400 medical students in the Great Lakes Bay Region, the college has brought 28 very talented faculty here, which adds both quantitatively and qualitatively to our medical community. CMU also has 80 employed staff in Mt. Pleasant and seven additional staff in Saginaw. Central Michigan Education Partners, which is 90% owned by CMU, employs another 61 faculty, 199 employed staff, and 125 employed residents.
According to a 2014 American Medical Association study, every dollar in clinical revenues generates $1.62 in local business activity. The annual economic impact of one physician practice equates to 3.8 full-time jobs, $1.1 million in wages, $2.2 million in economic output, and $90,000 in tax revenue.
The college further enhances our region by working collaboratively with others to address the area’s major health care concerns, including opioid abuse, suicide prevention and support, infant health, behavioral and mental health, supporting healthy aging, and physician burnout and suicide.
Dr. Sam Shaheen, executive director of CMUs Medical Education Partners and one of the truly outstanding leaders in the Great Lakes Bay Region, summed it up when he said: “Because of our efforts, doctors are educated, patients are cared for, and partnerships on health and wellness flourish. We are improving the health of our communities through education.
Terry Moore, former president of the Midland hospital, authored this column as part of the Midland Daily News’ Community Connections initiative.