The Preceptorship Program is designed to expose medical students to the professional, business and social aspects of a family medicine, pediatric or internal medicine practice in a rural and/or medically underserved setting. This program provides medical students the opportunity to practice skills and techniques learned in the medical school classroom.
Another goal of the program is to encourage Louisiana medical students to return to rural communities after completing medical school to begin their medical practice. Currently Louisiana has a shortage of family physicians, pediatricians and internal medicine physicians. Approximately 25 percent of the state’s population lives in rural area, however, less that 14 percent of the state’s physicians practice in rural and underserved areas. Richard Pearson stated that “this program has opened my eyes to what primary care medicine is truly about, completely flipping my perspective of the field. I now understand how continuity of care can provide finality.” When asked about qualities that made the rotation with Dr. Gravois positive, he stated “phenomenal bed side manner. He treats people as people, not as cases. He also made sure to show me as much as he could, be it with him or other doctors.”
This opportunity for students to spend four weeks with a doctor in a rural or underserved urban area of central and south central Louisiana is made possible through the collaboration between Central Louisiana AHEC, LSUHSC-Shreveport and New Orleans, local communities and physicians. These assignments have had an impact on the number of students choosing practices in family medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine in Louisiana.
Central Louisiana AHEC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist in bringing quality health care, health care education and resources to rural and/or underserved communities in 17 parishes in central and south central Louisiana.
Nan Ewing, program director for Central Louisiana AHEC, stated that “the preceptor program is such an excellent opportunity for medical students to gain experience with primary care medicine in a rural setting. Hopefully these students will return to rural areas as practicing Family Medicine physicians.”