October 02, 2006
UA President Mark Hamilton and Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Karleen Jackson commissioned the task force in January to help chart a future course for increasing the number of doctors in the state. The report includes recommendations and strategies the state and UA should take.
For the past 35 years, UAA has been a partner in WWAMI, a regional medical school coordinated by the University of Washington for the states of Washington Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. WWAMI allows medical students to receive training in their home states.
"Alaska needs to start now to offset the current shortage of physicians in the state, and to reach an adequate number of physicians to provide the care Alaskans will need in 20 years," said Dr. Richard Mandsager state public health director and task force co-chair. "The task force says the physician shortage could become a crisis ? the shortage affects access to care throughout the state, and increases the cost to hospitals and health care organizations."
Goals of the task force included
increasing the in-state development of physicians by increasing
the number and viability of medical school and residency opportunities
in Alaska for Alaskans; increasing physician
"The task force agreed on an array of strategies that, if put into place, will be effective in meeting Alaska's need for physicians," said Dr. Harold Johnston, director of Alaska Family Medicine Residency and task force co-chair. "In the coming months, the state administration, legislature, the university and private and tribal health care providers will work with this roadmap, and find ways we can each contribute to reach our goals."
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