IMS, Medical Schools Host Physician Workforce Meeting

This week, representatives from more than 20 organizations, joined key legislators and staff for a physician workforce stakeholder meeting in Ankeny. This full-day event, cohosted by IMS, Des Moines University, and the University of Iowa, sought to bring together many of the groups currently working to address our state’s challenges in physician training, recruitment, and retention. In addition to many of the familiar groups who have worked on this issue for a number of years, were several newly engaged organizations from the business community who recognize the impact Iowa’s physician workforce shortage has on many area’s economic development potential.

Attendees spent their morning forming a common understanding of the current state of the training, recruitment, and efforts. Starting with the data on current physician workforce levels and geographic dispersion, the opening panel also included reports from Iowa College Aid and the Iowa Department of Public Health on current physician workforce programs supported by the state. The Dean of Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Executive Dean of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine shared the stage for the next discussion of the challenges and opportunities currently facing Iowa’s two medical schools. Wrapping up the morning, attendees engaged with from representatives from medical residency programs, rural Critical Access Hospitals, and independent physician clinics regarding their on-the-ground perspectives from training, recruiting, and retaining physicians in communities across our state.

The afternoon of this solutions-oriented meeting was designed to allow for a peer-based discussion of current efforts, challenges, and opportunities for collaboration on this pressing issue. With the aid of trained facilitators, attendees were encouraged to step out of their respective silos and have a frank dialogue regarding how we might collectively move the needle on Iowa’s physician workforce shortage. The insights gained during these small-group discussions will help to form the basis of the IMS physician workforce legislative package that is part of the 2020 IMS Legislative Priorities. In the coming weeks, staff will be compiling a report of the day’s discussions and drafting bill language to move this week’s discussion forward and ensure that this meeting results in action to address the barriers and capitalize upon the opportunities for policy changes to help address Iowa’s physician workforce shortage.


This week’s meeting also served as the launching pad for IMS’s 2020 Physician Workforce Major Initiative. Over the next year, IMS will be working to further broaden the conversation about our state’s provider workforce shortage. Watch upcoming IMS publications for more information on this work.

Thank you to all who attended this week’s meeting and a special thank you to the University of Iowa and Des Moines University for co-hosting the event!

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