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New Orleans, LA – Through a competitive process, Dr. Sheila Chauvin, Professor and Director of the Office of Medical Education Research and Development at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has been awarded a grant by the Louisiana Primary Care Association (LPCA) to develop a collaborative model that will increase the number of residency and student clinical rotation programs at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), or Community Health Centers (CHCs), across the State of Louisiana.

"This project will increase the number of primary care health professionals including physicians, community health nurses, dentists, and allied and public health professionals, and improve access to care for people living in Louisiana’s rural and under-served communities," notes Dr. Larry Hollier, Chancellor of LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans.

Both residents (physicians who are completing post-graduate medical training in order to be licensed to practice) and health professions students need clinical experience to complete their education. Under faculty supervision, they also deliver health care services at clinical sites where they rotate. The team working on this project includes professionals from the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Allied Health Professions and Public Health.

Under Dr. Chauvin’s direction, LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans will conduct an initial assessment to evaluate and analyze existing Louisiana Community Health Centers’ academic residency/clinical rotation programs. Then, using proprietary methods, her team will develop a standardized academic residency/rotation program model that can be implemented by Louisiana FQHCs as well as a set of recommendations and partnership strategies to develop effective rotations. They will also foster collaboration and develop academic-community health center partnerships among stakeholders including FQHC leaders, the Louisiana Primary Care Association, Area Health Education Centers, the Louisiana Rural Health Association, and the Department of Health and Hospitals Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health

"In this project, we will be using strategies to facilitate academic-community collaboration and developing a model that community health center leaders can use with academic partners to create new academic residency and clinical rotations in these centers," said Dr. Chauvin. "Such efforts align directly with LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans’ commitment to enhancing access to quality health care for all of our state’s citizens. Such rotations can also provide essential community-based learning and experiences for our students. Finally, increasing academic clinical rotations in these centers can contribute significantly to increasing the number of LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans graduates who choose a career in primary care and professional practice in rural and under-served areas."

There is a national shortage of primary care health professionals. In Louisiana, based upon information provided in the 2006 report of the Louisiana Interagency Task Force on the Future of Family Medicine, 97% of Louisiana parishes after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have areas classified as Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas. While Louisiana ranked 10th in per capita production of physicians, it was 38th in the country for primary care physicians, with only one-third of Louisiana physicians practicing in primary care.

Individuals who are uninsured, live in under-served areas, or lack the supplemental resources to meet related health costs, such as Medicare recipients lacking funds or supplemental insurance for co-payments or medications, lack access to basic health care services. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 20% of Louisiana’s population is uninsured. That is nearly 850,000 people.

Numerous publications provide evidence that engaging residents and other health professions students in community health centers and clinics influences their decision-making about specialty choice. Such experience also enhances recruitment to primary care specialties and practice in rural and under-served areas, and particularly CHCs.

Louisiana has FQHCs in Baton Rouge, Natchitoches, Tallulah, Clinton, Port Allen, Albany, Zachary, Kentwood, Greensburg, Shreveport, New Orleans, St. Gabriel, New Iberia, Innis, Bastrop, Independence, Monroe, Alexandria, Lake Charles, Opelousas, Luling, Franklin, St. Joseph, and Sicily Island. In addition, satellite clinics affiliated with FQHCs are located in Gilliam, Haynesville, Minden, Abbeville, Wisner, Leesville, River Ridge, Edgard, and Houma.

Following the completion of work, the LSUHSC team will conduct a 6-month implementation evaluation and will submit a final report to the Louisiana Primary Care Association with an overall evaluation of the project and its success.




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