Ed Schrader's vision and plans for a medical school at Brenau here in Gainesville could not be more right on the money. The further development of our medical and educational communities is key both to local and regional health care provision and to our local economic future for all the reasons that Dr. Schrader mentioned.
As recent economic events have clearly shown, we are now a part of an inextricably interwoven global community. And we need to act that way. Our local considerations of health care worker training have a direct impact on the global community that we should not ignore.
In March 2008, the World Health Organization held a Global Healthcare Workforce summit to evaluate the disparity in numbers of health care providers in developed versus developing countries. The Kampala Declaration argues forcefully for responsible thinking of global issues as those of us in developed nations consider our own needs.
For example, in the field of surgery, the field of medicine in which I practice, Africa has 1 percent to 2 percent of the number of surgeons that we have in the United States, though 25 percent of the worlds population lives there. In the United States, however, only 70 percent of the slots of residency positions are filled by medical students who are graduates of U.S. medical schools.
So, at the end of the training cycle for physicians, we train thousands of foreign medical graduates, many of whom are from developing countries. Nearly all of these physicians stay in the country where they train, not where they were born. Almost without exception, these foreign medical graduates are some of the finest physicians I know.
However, this drain of best and brightest is bad for the developing world. In the long run, this ongoing increase in the disparity of health care workers between us and them will surely have hidden future costs that we can ill afford. The only way to address this pull of physicians from other countries is to close the gap between the 16,000 U.S. medical school graduates and the 25,000 postmedical school training positions that have to be filled yearly.
I certainly agree that a national physician work force deficit looms and that, as a local response, we should institute residency training programs here in Gainesville and Athens. Local hospitals are fulfilling their responsibility to improve the health of our communities in looking at this issue.
However, as we consider instituting residency training programs, it is also our responsibility not to worsen the global inequity of health care workers by pulling doctors in from parts of the world that can't afford to lose them. We need to train doctors from college through the entire training cycle, not just the last part of it.
We need a new medical school here in Gainesville to go along with postmedical school training programs, in order to meet our local, regional, and global needs and responsibilities.
Some seasons to truly be thankful for Bush
To Ronnie Shoemake of Gainesville: I too, would like to thank President George W. Bush for the following:
Showing us in 2000 that by following the law in the United States, rather than the popular media, an election for president can be resolved rightfully to provide a relatively smooth transition of power from one party to another.
Liberating 26 million people in Iraq from a bloodthirsty, ruthless murdering dictator who had the money and power to soon become the center for worldwide Islamic terror, giving the Muslim extremists the ability to once again take over most of the civilized world.
Showing us by the example of your military service in the Texas Air National Guard that service to America is important to keeping us free. Thanks also, to you and the thousands of patriots in the service to America -- in the Armed Services, Homeland Security, FBI, state and local law enforcement, to mention a few agencies -- who have broken up at least hundreds, if not thousands of secret terrorist plots and nests all over the U.S. and the world (one highly sophisticated communications center was as close to us as Buford). That has kept us from having more American blood shed on our own soil since the Islamic terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001.
Trying to keep the U.S. federal government out of the oil business and letting the free market determine costs at the pump. If you had forced price caps, we'd be paying much more than $1.50 a gallon today.
Not overreacting to the situation in Iran. For winning the war with Iran as they conducted it against us in Iraq. The people of Iran, especially during the upcoming global recession, which will hurt their already pitiful economy much worse than ours, will hopefully be encouraged to replace their failed religious government with a secular one.
Showing us by example that the executive branch has important responsibilities with regards to keeping us all safe, while it is the legislative branch's responsibility to make law. The president should not be making law, just as the House and Senate should not be conducting war.