- Associated Press - Monday, November 3, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - A program that seeks to improve access to primary care providers in medically underserved Michigan communities has received a federal funding boost to help it expand.

Detroit-based Wayne State University recently announced that the Michigan Area Health Education Center program has been awarded a one-year, nearly $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to maintain its four regional centers and launch a fifth.

The Northern Lower Regional Center is scheduled to open in 2015. Current locations are the Southeast Regional Center in Detroit, the Mid-Central Regional Center in Mount Pleasant, the Western Regional Center in Grand Rapids and the Upper Peninsula Regional Center in Marquette.

The funding also will help the Michigan Area Health Education Center promote and provide health care career preparation initiatives, clinical experiences and continuing education programs across Michigan. Rural areas, in particular, are expected to see improvements.

“This is critical to our state, which faces a dire shortage of physicians at a time our population is aging and needs more health care and more health care providers,” Dr. Valerie M. Parisi, dean of Wayne State University’s School of Medicine and co-principal investigator of the grant, said in a statement.

According government figures, 79 of Michigan’s 83 counties have at least partial designation as primary care health professional shortage areas, 76 have a shortage of dental professionals and 45 are designated as mental health care professional shortage areas.

“We look forward to expanding our reach and working with more schools, professional associations, health centers and health providers,” said Dr. Dennis Tsilimingras, co-program director of Michigan Area Health Education Center and assistant professor in the School of Medicine.

The Wayne State University College of Nursing and School of Medicine established the Michigan Area Health Education Center in 2010.




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