The Louisiana Board of Regents approved the application for licensure submitted by New York Institute of Technology to operate a College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. The two parties have a non-binding memorandum to bring New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine on the ULM campus.
With the opening of NYITCOM much needed medical assistance will be brought to the Monroe region. According to the feature article from the Louisiana Board of Regents "A crisis looms: NELA faces critical health care challenge"
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 2014 Access to Care report, Louisiana ranks 13th out of 51 (including the District of Columbia) for overall adults without a personal physician. Even more staggering is that Louisiana ranks lowest in terms of African American adults without a personal physician. This places Louisiana among the top 15 states where adults report not having a primary care physician. A 2016 feasibility study produced by Tripp Umbach (a private research consulting company specializing in medical school planning and establishment, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), A Healthier Future: Medical Education Expansion in Northeast Louisiana describes the region this way: “The Delta is the Appalachia of the 21st century in terms of significant economic and public health challenges that have existed for generations and only been intensified by the loss of industry in the region.”
As far as trends, go doctors are starting to get younger. If all doctors are in their early 60's late 50's then within the next ten years doctors would cease to exist, all the doctors would have all retired around the same time.
According to the Tripp Umbach study, nearly one-third of Louisiana’s physicians will retire within the next 5 years. This reflects a national trend downward throughout the United States. Northeast Louisiana has already experienced a significant number of physicians lost through retirement or death, and, according to John S. Wells, most did not have a partner to take over their practice.
According to Dr.Soheir Nawasi a retired pathologist who worked at LSUHC-Conway for 27 years.
”The majority of my colleagues who started practicing at the same time that my husband and I did are already retired or they are very close to the retirement age,” she says. “Unless we attract a new, younger, population of doctors, we will have a shortage especially in the primary care area.”
With some patients being well away from a primary health physician, and others not knowing the severity of their illness the medical school is needed more than ever.
Dr. Uma Rangaraj, a Monroe endocrinologist thinks it's needed based on her own experience. “It seems that often the nearest primary care office is situated well away from the patients’ homes and they have no means of transportation to the site. When their primary care physician refers them onward to a specialist in Monroe or West Monroe, they do not follow up for the same reasons. I still see patients who appear a year and a half after their first referral,” she explains. “The rural poor in this part of the world tend to develop disease to a ripe stage before ever seeking or receiving appropriate medical care."
In Louisiana there are some amazing medical schools such as; LSU Health Shreveport, LSU Health New Orleans, and Tulane. With the addition of the one at ULM the state would get needed help to solve health problems.
"A College of Osteopathic Medicine would start accepting 100 to 110 students at ULM in the 2019 fall semester", according to ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno.