Expanding Access to Quality Health Care in Underserved Areas

At the CMU College of Medicine, we believe residents of every city, town and village in Michigan should have access to quality health care. We've made it part our mission to recruit and train high-caliber, community-minded medical students with a desire to practice, with an emphasis on primary care, in rural communities and other underserved areas of Michigan. 

Implementing our vision will help underserved Michigan communities obtain and retain the highly trained physicians they so desperately need. ​

Key Impact Facts

  • 268 MD Program Graduates
  • >80% of Students from Michigan
  • 71% In-state Residency Program Match Rate
  • 235 Resident Physician Graduates
  • ~47 New Physicians for our Region
  • 69 CMU Faculty Physicians, 121 CMU Resident Physicians

Nationwide, the demand for new physicians is growing faster than medical schools can graduate them - and Michigan is no exception. A 2015 report by the Citizen’s Research Council found that three out of four Michigan counties have physician shortages in at least one primary care field.

Michigan's supply of primary care physicians meets only 63% of the state's current need. Of our 83 counties, 51 are designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. Many of these underserved areas are in the rural communities of Central and Northern Michigan. 

Our region's health care future may be in critical condition, but the CMU College of Medicine was established specifically to address this concern.

Rather than trying to attract physicians from elsewhere, we're helping Michigan's underserved communities grow their own physician pools. To do this, we're working to attract the best and brightest medical students from Michigan.

Studies show that physicians born in rural areas are 2.4 times more likely to practice in those areas, and are twice as likely to choose primary care as their specialty. More than 80% of our students are from Michigan.

Additionally, physicians who come from underrepresented or minority populations tend to want to practice in underserved areas. Approximately 11% of our students are from populations that are Underrepresented in Medicine (URM), which is well above the national average.

The location in which medical students complete their residencies has a major influence on where they ultimately choose to practice.

National data indicates that more than 50% of medical students establish practices within 50 miles of where they completed their residencies. That's why we give our students intense community-based learning opportunities in strategically located hospitals and private-practice clinics across the state. 

Through clerkship, medical students develop a deep sense of connectedness with their host communities. It is our hope that our students will do the same in the rural and underserved urban areas of Michigan and decide to call those communities home.