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The Maine Track | Medical Education

Maine faces an acute shortage of doctors — particularly in primary care in remote rural areas.

In 2008, Maine Medical Center partnered with Tufts University School of Medicine to create the Maine Track program, which looks to ease Maine’s doctor shortage by addressing its underlying causes.

The program has three goals

  1. Address the shortage of doctors in Maine, especially in rural areas
  2. Offer Maine’s brightest students the financial means to pursue a career in medicine
  3. Develop an innovative curriculum focused on community-based education

Scholarships are at the heart of the Maine Track

Students from Maine are at a financial disadvantage because our state lacks a public medical school. Costs for out-of-state or private tuition add up quickly, and can discourage many students from attending. For those who go, the extra debt often steers them toward higher-paying specialties and practicing in affluent areas and away from primary care in low-income rural communities. This has had serious consequences for Maine and its shortage of primary care doctors.

The Maine Track, with the generous help of benefactors, is working to change this. Twenty students in each Maine Track class – totaling 80 students across all classes each year – are given an annual scholarship of $25,000. This brings their tuition in line with that paid by in-state students at public medical schools. Students save a total of $100,000 over the course of the program, making it easier for them to pursue primary care, which is much needed in Maine, and particularly in underserved rural communities.

Innovation in community-based education

Our innovative clerkship program, called the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship, allows third-year students to gain first-hand experience in the practice of primary care—an opportunity not often available to medical students. Students are assigned to a single hospital in rural Maine, such as Miles in Damariscotta, where they follow a panel of patients throughout the nine-month term. They are able to build not just the breadth but also the depth of their knowledge by developing real connections with patients and following those patients through their treatment. Students are given real exposure to the practice of primary care and the rewards of working in rural hospitals.

To establish a scholarship, or join with others in contributing to a Maine Track scholarship, please contact us today.

Results of the program are promising:

50% of all Maine Track graduates have chosen a specialty related to primary care, outpacing national trends.

40 Maine Track graduates have established their practices in Maine to date.

26% of Maine Track students completed or are completing their residencies right here at Maine Medical Center.

The Impact

“The Maine Track scholarship enabled me to return to my home state of Maine, making a medical school decision that aligned my career, personal life/location, and financial considerations. Through the Maine Track I’ve had the pleasure of learning in the Veteran’s Administration (VA) Medical Center in Augusta, Maine. The veterans have been such a joy to work with — so open to teaching me from their experiences. It has been a unique opportunity for me to learn about mental health, especially PTSD, as well as substance use disorders (i.e. opioids, alcohol). Some of my favorite patient encounters have been walking alongside vets who are struggling with a new decision to reach out for support or to get sober. Their resilience has been inspiring to me to focus on honing my motivational interviewing skills, which I will use in the future as a family practice doctor to help guide patients to make hard decisions for their health.

As I’ve spent more time learning around the state, I’ve seen the positive impact the program has on all of the sites, clinics, and individual staff and preceptors who are involved as well. It feels like we are strengthening the fabric of healthcare in Maine that connects all of these disparate sites, which is such a wonderful perk of being a Maine Track learner.”

– Susannah Daggett
MD Candidate, Maine Track Class of 2022
Hometown of Yarmouth
Bob & Dottie King Endowed Scholarship

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