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Bill would better prepare medical students to address health challenges in rural communities by increasing training opportunities

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Children & Families, and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the Community Training, Education, and Access for Medical Students (TEAMS) Act to increase training opportunities for medical students in rural, underserved communities. The Community TEAMS Act would create a nationwide grant program for medical schools and community-based clinics to fund training opportunities in rural, underserved communities for medical students, increasing hands-on experience with unique health challenges facing such Pennsylvania communities and encouraging medical students to serve there after graduation.  

“One of the most critical investments we can make in our underserved communities is to provide quality health care. That requires medical professionals who understand the health challenges these communities face and possess the necessary experience to help patients through them,” said Senator Casey. “I’m supporting the Community TEAMS Act because it’ll help more of our future doctors gain invaluable experience supporting underserved communities and working towards bridging the gaps in health outcomes.”

“We must increase the available training opportunities for medical students in rural and underserved areas. My legislation would place medical students in rural areas so they can get exposure and experience,” Senator Wicker said. “The hope is that through this exposure, medical students will stay in rural areas post-medical school. An added side effect is that this provides some relief to providers while medical students are training there. This is a win-win-win for everyone.”

As Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee and HELP Subcommittee on Children & Families, Senator Casey is a longstanding advocate for greater health care access to Pennsylvania’s rural communities, as well as investing in the health workers themselves. Just this month, Senator Casey introduced the Community Health Worker Access Act to support health workers who reduce illness caused by social and economic circumstances.

The Community Training, Education, and Access for Medical Students (TEAMS) Act would:

  • Provide eligible medical institutions with the opportunity to apply for grants under the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA).
  • Prepare more students for the unique challenges of serving high-risk communities after graduation.
  • Increase the number of medical training sites in our rural communities.

This legislation is supported by American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), Association of American Medical Colleges, American Academy of Osteopathy, American College of Osteopathic Internists, American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians, American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine, American Osteopathic Association, American Osteopathic College of Anesthesiologists, American Osteopathic College of Occupational and Preventive Medicine, American Osteopathic College of Radiology Council of Academic Family Medicine, American Osteopathic Colleges of Ophthalmology & Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and the National Rural Health Association.

Read more about the?Community TEAMS Act here.