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<p>A $1.9 million federal grant will enable the Indiana University Department of Family Medicine to expand its residency program to the Lafayette, Ind., area with the goal of increasing the number of family physicians training and practicing in rural and urban underserved areas of west central Indiana.</p>

Family Medicine Residency Program Expands to Bring More Doctors to Lafayette Area


The grant for the IU Methodist Family Medicine Residency program, from the Health Resources and Services Administration, was funded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The residency program, in which new physicians receive specialized training following graduation from medical school, currently accepts 10 doctors annually for additional training as family physicians. The grant will enable the program to add two new residency slots in collaboration with Clarian Arnett Health, St. Elizabeth Regional Health and Riggs Community Health Center in Lafayette.

“This grant will begin what we plan to become a permanent involvement in Tippecanoe and surrounding counties,” said Sharron Grannis, M.D., director of the IU Methodist Family Medicine Residency and assistant professor of clinical family medicine. “We are committed to providing a primary care workforce trained to meet the needs of all populations but particularly both rural and urban underserved.”

Like many states, Indiana faces the challenges of both a shortage and a maldistribution of primary care providers. Thirty percent of Indiana’s counties are designated as Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas and more than half (54 percent) of Indiana’s counties are Medically Underserved Areas in whole or in part.

Lafayette is the seat of Tippecanoe County, which is entirely a Medically Underserved Area and is surrounded by five counties that in whole or in part are designated medically underserved or health professional shortage areas. Currently, no primary care residency program exists in this region.

“We know that primary care is associated with better health outcomes, lower health care costs, and greater equity in health. We are thrilled about what this expansion program will bring to the state of Indiana, our need to address medically underserved areas, and projected primary care workforce shortages,” said Mary Dankoski, Ph.D., co-chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the IU School of Medicine, located on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Specific goals of the project are to increase the recruitment of medical students to the Lafayette area for training and recruit 50 percent of the residency class from underrepresented/disadvantaged backgrounds. Other goals include, upon residency graduation, to retain 75 percent of family medicine physicians within a 50-mile radius from Lafayette and place 50 percent of family medicine physicians in clinical sites to care for medically underserved populations.

The expansion of the residency program will be effective in July 2011.