MILWAUKEE, April 9, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The vision and goals for a medical school in the greater Milwaukee area largely have been fulfilled by the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), states a report released by the Wisconsin Policy Forum today.
In 1967, the Heil Commission, formed by the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), laid forth three key tenets for preserving a medical school and building a comprehensive medical center for southeastern Wisconsin. These included increasing the supply of physicians for the region and state, providing complex medical care for the region, and conducting critical medical research.
"At the Medical College of Wisconsin, we are honored to look back and to validate that we have fulfilled the vision articulated by the region's civic and business leaders in 1967," stated Dr. John R. Raymond, Sr., president and CEO of MCW. "While it is important to reflect upon our legacy as a source of vitality and innovation over the decades, our focus now is to look forward and to drive further improvements in health and healthcare for our region, state, nation and world. Sustaining healthcare excellence and value in the community requires a shared commitment by the region's businesses and leaders. MCW and our partners continually seek to improve value and reduce costs for our patients."
In its report, the Wisconsin Policy Forum concluded MCW largely has fulfilled each tenet in serving its community. The 1967 goals for MCW included increasing the statewide supply of physicians:
1967 goal: A medical school needs to ensure a sufficient supply of physicians, scientists and healthcare professionals. In 1967, the physician-to-population ratio in Wisconsin was 119 physicians per 100,000 residents.
NOW: Fifty percent of practicing physicians in the state of Wisconsin have been educated at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Currently, in the southeastern Wisconsin region, the physician-to-population ratio is 521 physicians per 100,000 residents
To help address this need and ensure physicians are meeting the needs of underserved and rural communities, MCW opened campuses in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin in 2015 and 2016. This year, the first 15 graduates from the Green Bay campus will be celebrated, all of whom successfully matched with a residency program, and more than 50 percent of whom will remain in the state.
Currently, there are 80 medical students enrolled at MCW-Green Bay and 50 enrolled at MCW-Central Wisconsin who are helping meet the medical needs in their communities, such as Britt, a mom of four and student at the Central Wisconsin campus. See her story here.
Looking ahead, leaders at MCW will examine four key areas of need in the community to continue the transformation of local healthcare and improvement of health started in 1967 by the Heil Commission and the GMC. These areas include:
- Elevating the region's care through academic medicine
Academic medical centers are made up of a medical school and teaching hospitals that play crucial roles in educating tomorrow's doctors, providing cutting-edge patient care and conducting groundbreaking research. According to a study recently released, U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals represented by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which includes MCW, generate approximately 3.1 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) and support more than 6.3 million jobs nationwide.
- Driving vitality in the community through innovation
MCW invests more than $200 million annually in driving innovation in the region, comprising 68 percent of all research investment by universities in southeast Wisconsin. This investment leads to jobs, spin-off companies and direct benefit to the vitality of the community, and attracts talent to the region. The report acknowledges that an inability to sustain MCW's current research levels would affect the output and quality of healthcare in the region, and diminish MCW's ability to attract the renowned scientists and physicians who provide this innovation, education and care.
- Eliminating health disparities in the community
Despite major advances in innovation and high-acuity care, there still is room for improvement to achieve better health for this community, which includes making a serious commitment to addressing health disparities and equity in the region, and making healthcare both accessible and affordable. It will take a community-wide effort and coordination of initiatives to make the significant changes that are needed to address health disparities.
- Connecting physicians to communities that need them most: pipeline to practice
As shown in the report, the physician-to-patient ratio in southeastern Wisconsin exceeds the national average. However, the distribution of these professionals needs to be improved to better connect them with under-resourced communities where they are needed most. This needs to be done by strengthening the pipeline of doctors who are connected to and reflect these communities. Addressing these needs begins by enhancing the pipeline as early as middle school to ensure children have access to quality STEM education and career opportunities. MCW is committed to helping create pathways within under-resourced communities, targeting and inspiring students from middle school to medical school with the intent of increasing practice in under-resourced communities. Na'il embodies this strategy at work. See his story here.
About the Wisconsin Policy Forum/Heil Report Review:
Fifty years ago, the Greater Milwaukee Committee formed the Heil Commission to develop recommendations for a medical school to serve the greater Milwaukee area. The Commission laid forth three goals, which were bold for 1967, and the Wisconsin Policy Forum recently conducted a review of achievement of these goals. In addition to the supply of physicians goal above, the other 1967 goals for the Medical College of Wisconsin included:
Complex Medical Care
1967 goal: A medical school needs to provide complex medical care for the region.
NOW: MCW provides complex, high-acuity care, supported by groundbreaking research optimizing the global, medical ecosystem. MCW and its partner organizations offer cutting-edge care for complex conditions in facilities that are rated among the best in the country.
Critical Medical Research
1967 goal: A medical school needs to conduct critical medical research for the region and serve as a focal point of scientific leadership.
NOW: MCW's annual research expenditures exceed $200 million. Medical breakthroughs that literally change the course of medical history – including genome sequencing, the AED unit, CAR-T cancer breakthroughs and concussion protocol – originate at MCW as a direct result of critical medical research.
SOURCE Medical College of Wisconsin