NORWAY — Timothy A. Churchill, president and CEO of Stephens Memorial Hospital has announced notification of a Rural Health Workforce Development grant to help support the Maine Medical Center/Tufts University School of Medicine Maine Track medical school program at four rural practice sites. Stephens Memorial Hospital is the lead agency for the grant.

Rural clerkship sites at St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston, MidCoast Hospital in Brunswick and Farmington Memorial Hospital in Farmington will also share nearly $200,000 in grant monies for up to three years to help support the program.

The president’s 2010 budget included an Improving Rural Health Care Initiative which focuses on building new ways to improve health care in rural communities, including recruitment and retention of health care providers in rural areas. The Rural Health Workforce Development Program supports the development of these networks in the president’s initiative.

“We are thrilled to receive the grant. We think that it speaks to the merit of the innovative approach that has been taken by Maine Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine to address the primary care physician shortage in Maine. Stephens Memorial Hospital is pleased to serve as the lead agency that applied for the grant,” said Churchill.

The grant will make possible the vision for third year undergraduate medical students to live in rural areas of Maine, be active participants in those medical communities and accomplish their core competencies through the clerkship model. The program will expose students to the intrinsic benefits of primary care medicine and quality of life enjoyed in rural setting with the hope of graduating excellent, compassionate medical students who will return to be rural physicians in Maine.

The submission of the grant was a collaborative effort among key staff at Maine Medical Center, Stephens Memorial Hospital, Mid Coast Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital and Farmington Memorial Hospital.

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