TCC and OU Work to Address Doctor Shortage in Oklahoma

KTUL - April 24, 2022 3:13 pm

Tulsa Community College is teaming up with OU Health and the Health Professional Student Association to address the growing shortage of doctors in Oklahoma.

It’s a shortage that all of the state’s 77 counties are facing, according to key data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Many of those shortage areas are rural or low income. It’s a fact that has encouraged TCC students like Kenia Salas to enter the medical field.

“Especially in the north side of Tulsa, there isn’t a lot of clinics. I do see one for Latino and Spanish speaking people, but that’s the only one I’ve seen,” Salas said. “I want to help that community, not just the Hispanics, but lower income people who feel they don’t have the right to get medical attention.”

Salas is the first in her family to attend college and said her parents were worried she might not find the resources to attend medical school. It’s an issue that national organizations like HPSA worked to address at Saturday’s Undergraduate Medical Accelerator Program.

“Schools are looking to try and get students who are not just a cookie cutter applicant with high grades and a high MCAT score,” said HPSA Executive Director Laura Turner. “They want to get folks who understand their communities and have a real vision for improving health in those communities.”

The half-day conference taught students about the medical school application process as well as available financial and academic resources. A tool that first-year medical student, Cade Church, said he wishes was available when he transferred from TCC a few years ago.

“It’s a but nostalgic to look back on when I was in this position and to think about all the questions I had, which I’ve heard other students ask today,” Church said. “A lot of this process is getting started early, there’s so much to get taken care of, but if you can chip away at it over time. It makes it a lot more manageable.”

The National Center for Health Workforce Analysis reported the U.S. will be short by more than 20,000 primary care providers by 2025.


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