While one’s graduation from medical school is a marvelous occasion, it got even better for the inaugural recipients of the Rural Iowa Primary Care Loan Repayment Program. This new state-funded award will give the grads, Eric Johnson, Xuan-An Nguyen, Ryan Laughlin and James Law, up to $40,000 a year for five years in loan repayment for each year they serve in an underserved area in Iowa.
“I’ve grown up in Iowa and have always wanted to stay here,” says Johnson. “My student debt has been a burden on my mind, and this seemed like an excellent solution.”
Excellent indeed, given that the American Medical Association reports members of the medical Class of 2013 had an average educational debt of $169,901. And excellent for residents of rural Iowa, who face a shortage of primary care providers.
“It’s a great honor to be part of the first year of this program,” says Laughlin. “I grew up in rural Iowa and so did my wife. Small town living just feels right for us. There’s something about it that I can’t fully describe. The interactions you have with people are just a little bit different. Practicing in rural Iowa just makes sense.”