"What to Expect": Marianne McKennett and Virginia Fowkes Discuss Training of Physicians for Underserved Areas

Marianne McKennett, MD; Scripps Health Center, Chula Vista, California
Marianne McKennett, MD; Scripps Health Center, Chula Vista, California

On Tuesday, April 15, the second day of the 25th National Conference on Primary Health Care Access, Stanford University’s Virginia Fowkes and Doctor Marianne McKennett of the Sharp Chula Vista Department of Family Medicine will comprise a plenary panel discussing “Issues in the Training of Primary Care Physicians for Rural and Underserved Areas”.

The presentation will follow this year’s Charles E. Odegaard Lecture. The late Doctor Odegaard, who was a Fellow of the National Conferences, had promoted, as president of the University of Washington during the mid-20th century, the idea of universities becoming involved in the problems of their surrounding communities.

Dr McKennett, for the past 15 years, has been involved in the training of family physician residents at the Scripps Health Center Chula Vista (California) family medicine residency program. Much of their training occurs in the San Ysidro Health Center, a large federally-qualified health center located near the California-Mexico border in San Diego’s South Bay. (Dr McKennett is a Fellow of the Coastal Research Group.)

Virginia Fowkes, FNP, MHS; Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
Virginia Fowkes, FNP, MHS; Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

Virginia Fowkes, FNP, MHS, Emerita of the Stanford Univesity School of Medicine faculty.

She has been engaged in planning two projects with the California State Area Health Education Center (AHEC), to address the issue of physician burnout in providing medical services in community health centers located in underserved areas.

The California Statewide AHEC is a consortium of non-profit health-related entities located in both rural and urban areas of the State of California.  Ms Fowkes is a Senior Fellow of the Coastal Research Group.

Ms Fowkes’ activities with AHEC are focused on retention of clinicians, especially physicians, in CHCs.  She observes that many resources have gone into recruitment and training to get clinicians to the underserved areas, but little has been done to keep them there.

Twelve medical directors recently left one of our Los Angeles consortia clinics, ostensibly because of EMRs and dissatisfaction with their jobs.

Nationwide the burnout rate for primary care physicians has risen from 25-46% and it is greater in settings caring for large minority populations. The California AHEC ihas initiated two proejcts to address this serious and growing issue,

The 25th National Conference on Primary Health Care Access will be held April 14-16, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco.