R.I. Senate OKs commission to explore creation of medical school at URI

THE R.I. SENATE approved a resolution establishing a 21-member commission to explore the possibility of creating a medical school at the University of Rhode Island, pictured, as well as investigate and address the state’s health care workforce. / COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Senate approved a resolution establishing a 21-member commission to explore the possibility of creating a medical school at the University of Rhode Island, as well as investigate and address the state’s health care workforce.

Sen. Susan Sosnowski, D-South Kingstown, sponsored the resolution and emphasized the urgency of the state’s health care workforce shortage.

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“Rhode Island is headed for a crisis in primary care,” Sosnowski said. “This year, we made significant strides with the Senate’s health care package, including funding for primary care training sites and tuition assistance, but more needs to be done. We must explore all possible solutions to ensure Rhode Islanders have access to the care they need.”

The resolution emphasizes the state’s struggle with losing primary care physicians, which is only expected to worsen. The shortage has led residents to rely on community health centers and urgent care centers, adding more pressure to the state’s health care system, according to a news release.

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Rhode Island has a private medical school at Brown University, but no new medical schools have been created in the state since 1972.

“Rhode Island struggles to retain primary care physicians upon graduation and offset these losses with physicians moving into the state,” according to the resolution. “Rhode Island must look towards the creation of a college of medicine to train and retain the next generation of the primary care physicians.”

The resolution is co-sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, D-North Providence; Sen. Pamela Lauria, D-Barrington; and Sen. Alana DiMario, D-Narragansett.

Katie Castellani is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Castellani@PBN.com.

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