Physicians Hall Front

Medical College of Wisconsin-Central Wisconsin Launches Training Program for Rural and Hmong Prospective Medical Students

Wausau, Wisconsin, July 14, 2020 – In an effort to address the statewide healthcare provider shortage, the Medical College of Wisconsin-Central Wisconsin (MCW-CW) is launching a training program for future medical students who come from rural and/or Hmong backgrounds.

AMP students will learn about problems in medicine like opioid abuse and the ability to advocate for system change. They will participate in field trips and volunteer opportunities to engage directly with the community, gain exposure to healthcare systems in the region and work on a mentored research project with a MCW-CW faculty member, medical student and community mentor.

“Most importantly, these activities will facilitate the development of a strong peer cohort to minimize isolation and create a sense of belonging,” said Amy Prunuske, PhD, associate professor at MCW-CW and advocate for the inclusion of underrepresented students in biomedical sciences and medicine.

“Students will benefit from the course by having an early exposure to community health issues while also learning about the doctor-patient relationship,” said Kristine Prahl, associate professor of biology at UW-Stevens Point at Wausau. “The course about opioids will focus on biological issues associated with addiction, but it will go beyond that to explore the sociological factors and policies associated with the addiction problem. Students will discuss a physician’s role in helping the community find solutions to this problem.”

Funding for the program comes from the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment (AHW).

“In order to adequately address the healthcare needs of Central Wisconsin rural and Hmong populations, it is important that we develop a pathway for students from underrepresented backgrounds to successfully matriculate into MCW-CW,” said Dr. Prunuske. “The AMP will allow us to train more doctors that are equipped to address these needs and more likely to practice in the region.”

Student activities will begin this fall. Application forms are not yet available, but interested students may contact Dr. Prunuske.

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