ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Over 50 first-year medical students received their white coats at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford on Friday.
For those receiving their coats, it’s an achievement. For those working in the field, there is an underlying issue.
Gabriel Moreno is one step closer to accomplishing his dream of becoming a doctor. After today, he’s no longer pre-med; now, he’s a full-fledged med student.
“I am keeping my options open. If I do have to chose today, it would probably be emergency,” Moreno said.
Doctor Kathrerine Tynus, who graduated in ’93, delivered the ceremony’s keynote address, saying it’s more important now than ever for young people to become doctors.
“As the baby boomers come of Medicare age, their need for health care services is going to increase as they get older,” she said.
But, there’s a problem.
“There is a bottleneck in the training pipeline, so there are plenty of students entering medical school, but we don’t have enough residency positions to accommodate all these medical students,” Tynus said.
Once students, like Moreno, graduate med school, they traditionally go on to a residency at a hospital, which provides on-the-job training, as they work under a doctor’s supervision.
“Without residency training, you can’t practice medicine,” Tynus said.
According to the Association of American Colleges, the nation could face a doctor shortage by 2032.
Dr. Tynus says the Federal government needs to provide more funding so that med students have a place to go after graduation.
“There are quite a few hospitals and academic centers who currently do fund quite a few residency slots through their own means, but it would be so helpful to get more assistance,” she said.
In total, 55 students received their white coats on Friday, some from Rockford and others from all over the country.
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