JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The University of Mississippi School of Medicine opened a new state of the art facility last year. It’s a big draw for potential students. There’s a focus not only recruiting, but also retaining more students at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. First year med student JoJo Dodd says that’s made clear from the start.
“They expose you all throughout your first year here and first few weeks here to the need in our state," said Dodd. "Everything you learn in biochemistry to histology to gross anatomy, they’re always focusing you on how it applies to those in need here. Particularly how our state’s kind of uniquely needy of medical professionals and resources.”
There’s a serious doctor shortage in the Magnolia State. But as as the Vice Dean for Medical Education Dr. Loretta Jackson-Williams explains--- there is some good news.
“The University of Mississippi retains a number of its graduates in Mississippi," explained Jackson-Williams. "We rank about sixth on the list out of all the schools in the United States.”
Dodd notes that growing up in the state helps him to better see the importance of staying.
“These are my neighbors," said Dodd. "These aren’t statistics. These are people I know. I’ve seen it growing up. It’s part of the reason why I’m here in health care to begin with. Seeing that need. Understanding that I can be a part of that and helping to fix that.”
The medical school does career counseling but also exposes students to family medicine practices throughout the state during their four years. They’ve also committed to putting money behind some of those efforts.
“The rural physicians scholarship and some of the other scholarship opp that we have for students that actually put in place a requirement to work for a period of time in the state have significantly helped our talent come back or stay in the state,” added Dr. Jackson-Williams.
This year’s medical school class is 165, up from last year’s 155, which was the largest to date.