Each year Des Moines University establishes a legislative agenda. These are the issues we are committed to focusing on for the upcoming legislative session, developed with input from the DMU Executive Leadership Team. This year one of our priorities identified by DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., centered around exploring additional graduate medical education opportunities for our students to stay in Iowa for their residency training.
Fortunately, Representative Joel Fry from Osceola had a similar goal in mind. As chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, he has been committed to ensuring that rural Iowa communities have an adequate supply of health care professionals. Without that workforce for rural Iowa, the economic development of these communities is also at risk. That’s why he introduced a bill to the Iowa House, House File 532, which received unanimous support. The Iowa Senate added to the bill a request for a physician workforce study related to the recruitment and retention of primary and specialty care physicians. That amendment was unanimously passed, and the bill was sent it to Governor Kim Reynolds’ office for her signature.
What does this bill do?
This bill is good for Iowa in that priority for medical residencies will be given to those with an Iowa connection. If someone is from Iowa, has completed their undergraduate degree in Iowa or attended either the University of Iowa or DMU to earn a medical degree, that individual will be given priority as those with an Iowa connection are far more likely to stay in Iowa. Now that the bill has been signed into law, the administrative rules committee will go further to define and determine what is meant by “preference.”
So what does “preference” mean?
It might be as simple as an interview or an opportunity to audition by doing a six-week rotation at the University of Iowa, but this will be determined as the administrative rules committee further defines this bill.
A number of student advocates were involved in this legislation, with some attending subcommittee meetings at the Iowa House and Senate. Additionally, our students were on hand to thank legislators at DMU Day on the Hill for the positive impact this will have on students for years to come. A special mention goes to students Troy Ruffin, Leah Kemble and Matthew Mahoney, who helped by meeting with legislators to support the effort and who were present at the signing of the bill by Governor Reynolds.
What is in the bill?
If you want to learn more about the details of the bill, you can find it on the Iowa Legislature’s website.