Mid Coast Hospital provides fertile training ground for Maine Medical Center/Tufts Medical School students

Mid Coast Hospital is entering its second year as a training site for the ground-breaking "Maine Track" medical school program, created by a partnership of Maine Medical Center (MMC) in Portland and Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) in Boston.

Students will spend the majority of their first two years in classroom-based learning at Tufts in Boston. They will then return to Maine for their final two years with rotations at Maine Medical Center, Mid Coast Hospital, and other community hospitals. The program focuses on quality, safety, and team-based care.

This uniquely-Maine program puts the emphasis on doctor-patient relationships and community-centered care. Students receive the gift of a stethoscope on their first day and immediately partner with community physicians.

Tyler Bernaiche, a native Mainer from Fort Fairfield, recently completed his orientation with Dr. Carl Demars at Mid Coast Medical Group-Adult Care in Bath.

Currently, three second year students, Heather Bradford and Kathleen Brennan, both from Maine, and Ryan Haley from New Hampshire are participating in the Competency-Based Apprenticeship in Primary Care (CAP) program.

Under the guidance of Mid Coast Hospital medical staff physicians Nancy Hasenfus, MD, and Carl DeMars, MD, in Internal Medicine; Pamela Gardiner, MD, and David Inger, MD, in Family Medicine; and Lawrence Losey, MD, in Pediatrics, the students continue to develop their patient care skills.

In May of 2011, two third-year students will begin an innovative new Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum (LIC) with members of the Mid Coast Medical staff in the primary care disciplines above, as well as Surgery, Psychiatry, and Obstetics/Gynecology. Participating community physicians will have faculty appointments at Tufts.

"We are fortunate here at Mid Coast to have the opportunity to participate in this exciting new venture," says Marybeth Ford, MD, Mid Coast Hospital's LIC Site Director for the MMC/TUSM program.

"The benefits to patients and medical staff will be immediate in terms of team-building and better quality of care, but it will also provide an on-going investment in the future of medical care in our community by enhancing physician recruitment and retention."

Tufts and MMC teamed up in 2008 in an attempt to address the statewide doctor shortage in Maine, where there are currently more than 230 physician vacancies.

Each year's class of 36 will include at least 20 students from Maine who will receive scholarship support to reduce their financial burden. Retention of at least 75% of students to practice in Maine is a program goal.

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