Addressing a crucial shortage

KU prepares doctors for careers in underserved communities
Dr. Francisco Chacon trained at the KU School of Medicine-Wichita and is now a physician in Liberal.

After earning his medical degree from the University of Kansas, Dr. Francisco Chacon chose to return to where he felt most needed — to Liberal, his hometown.

“When you’re a primary care doctor in your community, you get to know your patients,” said Chacon, who trained at the medical school’s Wichita campus and now has a busy practice not far from where he grew up.
“I knew I could make a difference here.”

Chacon’s story isn’t unusual among KU School of Medicine graduates.
KU-trained physicians practice in 87 percent of Kansas counties and make up half of all Kansas doctors.

Despite KU’s efforts, Kansas still does not have enough physicians, and KU’s medical education facilities in Kansas City have reached capacity. To train additional doctors for Kansas, in 2011 KU opened a new Salina campus and expanded its Wichita campus to a four-year program. This year, KU is seeking support for its Health Education Initiative, which would expand KU’s Kansas City facilities to train 50 additional medical students each year.

“Kansas needs doctors,” Chacon said. “KU recognizes this and is uniquely positioned to address this crucial shortage.” 


Kansas Physician Shortage

• 89 Kansas counties have a shortage of primary care providers.

• Kansas ranks 39th nationally in doctors per capita.

• Kansas needs 285 new physicians each year to rise to the national average of physicians per capita by 2030.

Nearly 30 percent of current physicians will be lost to retirement and attrition over the next 10 years.