Doctor Shortage in NJ: Can a Country 2,000 Miles Away Help?
Former state Health Commissioner Fred Jacobs is now the executive vice-president of St. George's University in Grenada — an island nation about 2,000 miles away in the Caribbean. He says their "City Doctors" program provides scholarships and residencies in New Jersey to counter the outflow of doctors here.
Jacobs says only about half of New Jersey's primary care needs are being met because of the shortage. And he warns the continuing emergence of aging Baby Boomers and their accelerating medical needs will further aggravate New Jersey's doctor shortage.
Jacobs says New Jersey's doctor shortage is due to several factors.
"One factor is, of course, that many of the medical students who graduate from New Jersey medical schools leave the state to do residencies. And as a result of that, many doctors who train in particular locations end up staying there."
Another factor cited by Jacobs is where the doctor is from.
"So if you are from New Jersey and you trained in New Jersey it is more likely that you would stay there. If you are not, you came from out of state, and you took your residency in Chicago, for instance, it is likely that you will not come back to New Jersey."
Jacobs says the "City Doctors" program at St. Georges University works with New Jersey institutions such as Hackensack University and Jersey Shore University Medical Center to provide scholarships and residencies for training physicians.
"It also increases the chance that those medical students will stay at that hospital for residencies," he said.