PORTLAND, Maine — Thirty-nine students, including 21 from the Pine Tree State, were inducted into the Maine Track program of the Tufts University School of Medicine at a ceremony held Thursday, in Portland.
The Maine Track program, a partnership between Maine Medical Center and Tufts, was established to address the shortage of physicians in Maine — research shows that doctors tend to settle near the hospitals where they complete their training — and to provide an affordable in-state medical education. Twenty Maine students from each class receive a half-scholarship.
“We were seeing our best and brightest kids leaving the state and not coming back,” says Peter Bates, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Maine Medical Center and Academic Dean of the Maine Track Program, in a press release. “It was important to keep them here, particularly given the shortage of primary care physicians in the state. Tufts has one of the most respected medical schools in the country, and the Maine Track program offers a rural component that is unique to Maine.”
The four-year program includes training in Boston and in Maine.
“My family are all lobstermen, and growing up in the community I noticed a lack of access to medical care that directly affected my family members,” says Miranda Rogers, a resident of Orr’s Island and member of the Class of 2017, in a press release. “That was really a driving factor in why I wanted to return to Maine to improve access and to advocate for lobstering communities that don’t regularly have access to care.”
The first Maine Track class graduated in May. Those students began residencies at hospitals in Maine and across the nation.