U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on Monday laid out a roadmap he says will prioritize recruitment and incentives for healthcare workers in rural areas, as well as expand educational programming at colleges and universities. [Health News Illinois]
The plan identifies three priorities for stakeholders to focus on over the next four years to address shortages of health professionals in rural areas.
That includes exploring new training partnerships between community colleges and medical facilities, the promotion of dual-credit options for high school students and increasing the number of medical residency programs operating in rural areas.
Durbin said during a stop in Lincoln that the roadmap “will help us address the root causes of these shortages by reaching into middle and high schools to attract young people into health careers, expanding the capacity of our education programs, and creating incentives for rural recruitment.”
Many of the initiatives will be funded through the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, with Durbin saying his office will convene regular meetings with hospitals, health centers, medical schools, nursing schools, community colleges and other stakeholders to disseminate federal funding opportunities and coordinate projects.
Eleven Illinois associations have signed on as partners in the work, including the Illinois Association of College of Nurses, the Illinois Health and Hospital Association and the Illinois State Medical Society.
As part of the announcement, Durbin said the Illinois State University will receive $2 million to expand its nursing school, and Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine will receive $1 million to establish a Rural Health Institute.