Medical School funds necessary

As part of his 2015 budget proposal, Gov. Mark Dayton announced a plan last week  to provide millions of dollars in extra state funding to the University of Minnesota’s Medical School.

If successful, the funding will help bolster the University’s status as a major medical school. Dayton and other backers of the proposal assert that, with extra financial support, the school could regain access to larger research grants, provide additional health care workers and researchers for the state and bolster Minnesota’s economy.

The proposal is especially relevant given the news in recent weeks about Minnesota’s health care issues.

The state will face a shortage of doctors over the next decade or so. Areas of greater Minnesota are already in need of new doctors, prompting the state Senate to propose a loan forgiveness program for recent medical graduates who work in rural areas.

Additionally, a recent study of health inequities found glaring disparities in health and health care statuses throughout the state. Recent immigrants, Hispanics and other minority communities have less access to health care programs and experience higher rates of health problems than other groups.

A revamped medical school may help meet these challenges. The proposal specifies the Rural Physician’s Associates Program in the Medical School as a beneficiary of the funding. And the school has a program working to close the gaps in health care inequities. If the University allocates extra state funding carefully, we believe that the Medical School has the potential to do a great deal of good for the state.