MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - A pilot rural psychiatry residency program will welcome its first two residents to the Upper Peninsula in July of 2021.
The new program is a collaboration between four medical schools in Michigan, including the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine-Upper Peninsula Campus.
"What the program entails is there will be two residents who matched already into the psychiatry program in Lansing. They'll do two years of training in Lansing before they come to Marquette and complete their training,” said CEO of the MSU College of Human Medicine U.P. Campus Medical School, Dr. Stuart Johnson.
Residents involved in this MIDOC program receive a loan up to $75,000 which may be used to pay off medical school debt. The loan is forgiven if they practice in the Upper Peninsula for two years after they complete their training.
"And that's been a great model for recruitment and retention of providers in the Upper Peninsula and other areas of Michigan,” explained Dr. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson says there are not enough psychiatrists in the U.P.
"We have eight psychiatrists working in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and in an area like the Upper Peninsula, with a population with just over 300,000 people, we should have at least 35 psychiatrists working in our region."
The goal of the program is to retain psychiatrists for the long term to help change the overall landscape of metal health in the U.P.
There are currently 50 beds in the new UP Health System-Marquette facility, but they only have the capacity to see 15 to 20 patients at a time because of the limited number of psychiatrists.
"We only have 39 inpatient beds in the Upper Peninsula and we should have at least 150 to 200 beds," Dr. Johnson said.
According to Dr. Johnson, one in five people has a mental health disorder.
"There are studies in the state that show the Upper Peninsula has a higher incidence of mental health disorders than the remainder of the state."
You can hear more about the new program on the June 9 episode of The Ryan Report.