MS Rural Physicians Scholars Program
The MAFP was instrumental in creating the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program (MRPSP), which was passed in the 2007 legislature. MRPSP is a unique longitudinal enrichment program that identifies rural students who aspire to return to their roots to practice medicine. A solid academic and public service record, strong work ethic and desire to practice rural medicine in Mississippi are the basic requirements. By starting at the undergraduate level recruiting and mentoring students from across the state who are primarily from rural areas, MRPSP allows Mississippi to ‘grow our own’ rural primary care physicians.
Ten years after its creation, MRPSP is gaining momentum, with 14 new physicians graduating in May 2017 into residency training. That brings the total number of practicing physicians who have completed the program to 24. In addition to these 24 practicing physicians, in May 2017, there were 64 students on scholarship, 42 physicians in residency training and 50 undergraduates who hope to join the ranks in the coming years.
The past three budget years, the Mississippi Legislature has appropriated $1.8 million annually to the program, funding 60 medical scholars each year. Increased funding over the years has increased the number of students able to participate, in turn increasing the program’s impact.
The program also has an economic impact on Mississippi. The addition of one physician to a community contributes an average of $2 million in additional economic output and an average of 21 jobs. Therefore, in addition to improving healthcare in the areas of Mississippi that need it the most, these primary care physicians reportedly have an economic impact of almost $50 million on our state.