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Medical school starts physician residencies in Aroostook County

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — With the goal of addressing a rural physician shortage, Quinnipiac University’s Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine is starting a new residency program at medical centers in Presque Isle and Fort Kent.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $750,000 to the medical school to develop a rural residency program, a part of $20 million awarded to 27 organizations with medical residencies in 21 states. 

The grant will fund Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine’s first family medicine residency program with four residents each academic year between Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent and Northern Light AR Gould Hospital in Presque Isle. The new residencies come along with a clinical training program for third-year medical students this year in Fort Kent. 

 “We see this as an incredible opportunity to continue working alongside our partners at Northern Maine Medical Center to educate future physicians dedicated to rural practice,” said Dr. Traci Marquis-Eydman, who grew up in Fort Kent and directs the clinical training program and rural medicine elective at the medical school.  

“On a personal level, I am also delighted for the people in my community in northern Maine,” Marquis-Eydman said. 

Marquis-Eydman said that she saw her family struggle to access medical care, and that the shortage of physicians and other medical professionals is a significant factor in the health disparities facing rural communities. 

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, physicians who spend time training in rural communities are more likely than their peers to choose to practice in a rural settings during their careers. 

“Building a family medicine residency program in rural Maine is an essential component of the school’s strategic plan, and its commitment to training the primary care workforce this country so desperately needs, especially for those living in rural communities,” Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine dean Bruce Koeppen said in a press release. 

Peter Sirois, president and CEO of the NMMC, said that the new residency and clerkships are a mark of progress for medical care in northern Maine. 

“The prospect of having residents working and training alongside our medical staff is a dream come true for our hospital and the communities we serve,” Sirois said. “In the end, our hope is that these residents will develop a passion for rural medicine and make NMMC their preferred place to work.”

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