University of Montana reaching high marks in retaining new physicians in state

MISSOULA – The University of Montana is quietly hitting a very high mark in the on-going effort to retain newly-trained physicians to work in Montana, with a strong majority of graduates deciding to stay and serve patients across the state.

Just five years ago, there was a growing concern of finding enough physicians to meet the demand not only in Montana’s urban centers but also at its far-flung rural hospitals.

That’s when University of Montana’s Health and Medicine decided to tackle the problem with a new physician retention program. The success is proving to be remarkable, even in a relatively short period of time.

“We graduate 10 residents per year and over 70% of them are staying in Montana as primary care rural physicians,” said UM Health and Medicine Dr. Dean Reed Humphrey, PhD. “So that was a singularly good addition to Western Montana and a real benefit. Because we’re really sort of helping incrementally solve rural health care issues.”