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Med Students Training to Return to Northwoods RootsSubmitted: 05/02/2013

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


MARSHFIELD - Many medical students dream of working in big hospitals or suburban private practices.

But two med students from the Northwoods are thinking the exact opposite.

"Most people are really intrigued by someone who's actually interested in staying in a small town," says one of those students, Katie Reimer, an Eagle River native.

Medical school could present a lot of options for Katie and Antigo's Jessica Novak.

They could work in a small town or big city, in Wisconsin or somewhere else, in a smaller clinic or large hospital.

But these two, currently on their clinical rotations, know exactly what they want.

"I definitely know it will be rural and I definitely know it will be north-central Wisconsin," says Jessica.

Katie and Jessica are one of the first classes of UW-Madison students in the Wisconsin Academy of Rural Medicine program at Marshfield Clinic.

"There is a shortage of physicians serving in rural areas in the state of Wisconsin, predominantly primary care, but also physician types, such as sub-specialists," says Dr. Matthew Jansen, the Director of the Division of Education at Marshfield Clinic. "The idea with WARM program is, train them locally, they'll stay locally."

Jessica heard about the program on TV, and was hooked on the idea.
"I said, that's exactly what I want to do. I want to do rural medicine," she remembers. "You just have such a great feeling of being involved, not only in the clinic but in the community as a rural physician."

Now, their long days as fourth-year med students at Marshfield Clinic will soon give way to long days as residents.

Both chose to stay with Marshfield Clinic for their residencies.

"I couldn't have asked for a better education to this point, and why mess with a good thing?" Katie asks.

Even if that is slightly different from med school classmates living - and learning - in skyscrapers.

"It's just different than them, because we're figuring out how to treat these people in rural communities," says Jessica.

Rural communities, like back home in Eagle River and Antigo - and like the communities they'll return to - as doctors.

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