While one’s graduation from medical school is a marvelous occasion, it got even better for the inaugural recipients of awards from the Rural Iowa Primary Care Loan Repayment Program. This new state-funded program will give four DMU graduates, after their residency, up to $40,000 in loan repayment for each of the subsequent five years they serve in an underserved area in Iowa.
“I learned that I would receive the Rural Iowa Loan through an e-mail from the Iowa College Student Aid Commission. I was pretty excited,” says Eric Johnson, D.O.’14, an Osage, IA, native who’s off to his first year of residency at Genesis Quad Cities Family Medicine in Davenport. “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.
“Practicing in rural Iowa just makes sense for me. I grew up in rural Iowa and so did my wife, Carrie,” says loan recipient Ryan Laughlin, M.S.B.S.’09, D.O.’14, now in residency at Broadlawns Medical Center, Des Moines. “I spent most of my third year rotating through practices in rural Iowa and enjoyed them.”
Also receiving the loan repayment are 2014 graduates Xuan-An Nguyen, in residency at Mercy Medical Center, and James Law, at Broadlawns Medical Center.