Missouri program attempts to stem loss of rural doctors

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri - The lack of family practice doctors in rural America has become a medical crisis. But there's a program in Missouri that's hoping to turn that around.

Katie Dias is a Doctor of Osteopathy and a success story in that regard. She’s looking forward to finishing her residency. And then…

"I'll be practicing in Albany, Missouri in Gentry County," she said.

If that doesn't sound like the fast track to riches, that's OK with her. She'll be returning to her home town, which she says supported her career choice.

"I feel like they invested a lot in me growing up and getting through school and this is kind of a great way for me to repay them," she said.

And that's thanks to the Primo program . The Missouri Department of Health recruits people like Dias with internships and loan forgiveness, in exchange for the promise of practicing in underserved areas. Which in this case was a foregone conclusion.

"It's definitely something that I feel passionately about, to take care of families. Taking care of families I know I think will be very rewarding," she said.

She thinks the program is a step in the right direction that may help stem the bleeding of health care professionals from rural areas.

The key she says, is…"just educating medical students, and residents also, about rural health care; the rewards of it and the benefits of it".

Dias says the program has lost some funding recently, but she would recommend it to students who think they might want to serve in rural areas.

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