(Intermountain photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare)
The new medical educational program will train physicians to look beyond immediate medical needs and consider social variables in a patient's life that could impact health. Those determinants include financial, social and behavioral issues.
This preemptive approach to wellness could include adding social workers to wellness teams and having providers reach out to patients without requiring a scheduled visit.
Upon graduating from the program and completing their residencies, practitioners will return to work for Intermountain Healthcare, or a partner organization, in one of six population health specialties.
The new University of Utah Intermountain Healthcare Population Health Student Scholars Program at University of Utah School of Medicine will have 10 students in the classes of 2021 and 2022. Future classes will have 25 students.
Intermountain Healthcare is investing $50 million into the jointly developed program over several years.
That investment will support the program's many aspects including curriculum development, tuition coverage for 10 students and the creation of faculty positions including three endowed professorships and four Intermountain Population Health Endowed Chairs in the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Additionally, the investment will help the university pursue legislative and accreditation approvals to increase the number of medical students in each class.
WHY IT MATTERS
Programs such as the University of Utah Intermountain Healthcare Population Health Student Scholars Program could help address the growing need for holistic care. By 2025 Utah will see a shortage of 600 primary care physicians, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
THE LARGER TREND
Growing recognition of the impact that social determinants have on health, has led to an emphasis on preemptive, holistic care.
Intermountain Healthcare has launched several initiatives to address social determinants of health. Last year, the not-for-profit system announced a partnership with United Way of Salt Lake and other partners "to improve the health and wellbeing of communities, improve coordination across health systems and reduce healthcare costs by addressing the upstream economic, education and social factors that impact people's health."
ON THE RECORD
"The University is grateful for this generous partnership investment from Intermountain," said Dr. Michael L. Good, CEO of University of Utah Health. "It is a tremendous recognition of the importance that integrative medical care based on population science will have in the years ahead. This approach to patient care has the potential to advance the doctor-patient relationship in many positive ways. It could lead to a metamorphosis of medical care that better addresses the emerging social and health needs of patients in the 21st century."
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