Local Student Accepted To UW Rural Medical Training Program

MADISON – A recent University of Wisconsin-La Crosse graduate from Waupun will participate in a sought-after rural medical education program through the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Jacob Pusateri, who majored in biomedical science, will spend the next four years in medical school honing his craft to pursue a career as a rural medical professional.

Pusateri was accepted to the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM) program of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. The program is a nationally recognized initiative that prepares and supports students who intend to practice in rural Wisconsin and help improve the health of those communities.

The program was created due to the shortage of physicians in rural Wisconsin. In fact, while 29 percent of Wisconsin residents live in rural locations, only 13 percent of physicians in Wisconsin have rural practices.

In the rural medicine program, students complete their first 18 months of medical school in Madison at the School of Medicine and Public Health. Students will spend the remaining years of medical school at Aurora BayCare in Green Bay, Gundersen Health System in La Crosse and Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, along with their networks of rural hospitals and clinics.

Students also participate in regular core days at their sites to focus on a specific topic from a rural perspective and complete a community health project.

Past project topics have included farm-to-table programs, concussion awareness for youth athletes, rural drug and alcohol abuse, health literacy and community disaster drills.

Opportunities also exist for students to do electives at away sites, and pursue global health opportunities, as well as complete the Master’s of Public Health program or the Path of Distinction in Public Health at the School of Medicine and Public Health.

Only 26 students are accepted for the program each year, and admission is limited to applicants who are legal residents of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois or Iowa. To date, more than 120 students have graduated from the program, and 92 percent of those graduating from residencies are practicing in Wisconsin. Of them, 52 percent are practicing in rural Wisconsin, and 28 percent are practicing in their hometowns.

These students will go on to fill a vital need in the rural parts of the Badger State, said Byron Crouse, associate dean for rural and community health, and program director.

“The Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine is an exemplary example of how the School of Medicine and Public Health fulfills the principle of the Wisconsin Idea,” he said. “Working with partners throughout the whole state of Wisconsin, WARM is preparing physicians to meet the needs of the residents in rural Wisconsin and help to eliminate rural health disparities.”