Official: New Medical Schools May Not Mean More Doctors in State; Shands Jacksonville Administrator Says Adding Residency Slots for Medical School Grads a Better Solution

Article excerpt

Byline: BETH KORMANIK, The Times-Union

Proposals to add new state medical schools in Orlando and Miami likely will not affect medical education in Jacksonville, but a Shands Jacksonville administrator said they may not be the best way to bring new doctors to Florida.

The issue will come before the Board of Governors, which oversees Florida's public higher education, at a meeting today in Gainesville. Experts from the state's existing medical schools and a hospital will speak about their academics and finances.

Jacksonville trains hundreds of doctors through hospital residency programs and through medical school education at Shands Jacksonville, which offers clinical training to students from the University of Florida. All of the doctors who work at Shands Jacksonville are UF faculty members.

Soon, medical students from Florida State University will get training in Jacksonville.

"For a variety of reasons, mostly political, the popular thing to do is to create medical schools," said Frank Genuardi, assistant dean for undergraduate medical education at Shands Jacksonville.

It might not be the best thing, he said. New schools would compete with UF for state dollars, but Genuardi said a small fraction of Shands Jacksonville's budget comes from the state. The bigger issue is he doesn't believe new medical schools at the University of Central Florida and Florida International University would solve a physician shortage the schools cited to justify new medical schools.

Genuardi said adding residency slots for medical school graduates is a better solution.

Doctors earn their degrees at medical schools but become specialists as hospital residents following graduation. They tend to make their home in the communities where they take residencies, Genuardi said, and that may be in a different city, state or even country from where they went to school.

"If you talk to most people in medical education, they'll tell you the State of Florida is going about it backwards," he said.

Central Florida officials think differently. The school has begun studying whether the university should open a medical school in Orlando. The school has received support from the Orlando medical community, said UCF Provost Terry Hickey. …

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