Expanding Primary Care in Oklahoma: OSU Center for Health Sciences Responds

  • Kayse Shrum DO Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSU-COM)
  • Denna Wheeler Ph.D.
  • James Hess Ed.D.
Keywords: Physician shortage, primary care, physician pipeline


The OSU Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS) has undertaken aggressive initiatives over the past 60 months to close the gap between the current physician supply and the overwhelming need for access in rural and underserved Oklahoma. These initiatives focused on three primary objectives: 1) creating a rural education pipeline into the OSU medical school, 2) expanding the number of students in the OSU medical school and 3) providing more residency training opportunities in primary care. In furtherance of these objectives, OSU-CHS created programs to educate middle school and high school students on careers in medicine and biomedical sciences. The institution implemented early admission partnerships with undergraduate institutions across the state to allow qualified students to gain early admission into the medical school. Additionally, specific programs were implemented to attract and recruit American Indian students to the physician training program. In order to accommodate the increased student pipeline, the number of seats in the medical school was increased dramatically, including the establishment of a tribal affiliated branch campus. Finally, new primary care residency programs were initiated in cooperation with community hospitals to allow residents to be trained in rural settings.


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