“Tufts has a strong track record of training Maine physicians, and there are more than 300 Tufts-educated doctors now living in Maine,” says Michael Rosenblatt, dean of the medical school.
In an effort to overcome the shortage of physicians in Maine, the School of Medicine and Maine's largest hospital have established a new partnership with a unique curriculum, the "Maine track," which will emphasize rural and small-town medical practice.
The 36 students on the Maine track-which will start in August 2009-will be jointly recruited by the medical school and the Maine Medical Center, located in Portland. Twenty of the 36 seats will be reserved for legal residents of Maine or those with ties to the state.
"Tufts has a strong track record of training Maine physicians, and there are more than 300 Tufts-educated doctors now living in Maine," including 60 Tufts physicians on the Maine Med staff, says Michael Rosenblatt, dean of the medical school.
From the 1930s through the early 1980s, federal funding provided Tufts students opportunities to work in Maine hospitals, including Maine Med. "Although this is a new agreement," Rosenblatt says, "our affiliation with Maine Medical Center began in the 1930s. We are excited to re-establish and revitalize this important relationship."
Students enrolled in the program will spend their first two years at Tufts, and then do their third-year clerkship at Maine Med. In the fourth year, students will spend a portion of their monthly rotations at Maine Med. Graduating students will receive a combined diploma from Tufts and Maine Med.
The partnership is the result of months of planning and negotiation by a steering committee and the three medical schools that vied to partner with the medical center. The hospital chose Tufts over Dartmouth College and the University of Vermont because of what committee chair Peter Bates, chief of medicine at Maine Medical, calls the "perfect match of needs and philosophy" between the two institutions.
The Maine Hospital Association estimates there are about 200 vacancies for primary-care physicians across the state, and that number is expected to grow as doctors retire and baby boomers age.