• The Wisconsin Department of Health Services considers the Green Bay and De Pere area a “Health Professional Shortage Area,” based on its ratio of population to doctors
  • A 2016 report estimated Wisconsin would be short 2,000 physicians by 2030
  • Local healthcare education programs, like the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Green Bay campus and University of Wisconsin Green Bay’s nursing program, say their graduates can help address the shortage — if they remain in Northeast Wisconsin
  • Both schools say a majority of their recent graduates are choosing to go to residency programs or practice in the area
  • Video shows experts discussing the doctor and nurse shortages and why they may worsen briefly despite current improvement

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says there aren’t enough doctors in the Green Bay De Pere area… and that health needs make continue to increase.

I’m your De Pere neighborhood reporter Karl Winter, and health experts from places like here at MCW-GB are weighing in on the issue and what they’re doing to fight the shortage.

“The northern third of the state has been a health professional shortage area for more than 30 years,” Dr. Matthew Hunsaker said.

MCW’s Green Bay campus was the first new medical campus to open in Wisconsin in 100 years. The school’s first dean has been on the job for 10 years, and he says the school is beginning to realize its goal of bringing new doctors to the area.

“Now, 10 years later, those students are coming back,” Hunsaker said. “[…] Where you train has a big impact on where you practice, and that data translates well to Wisconsin.”

UWGB is also trying to address the nursing shortage, and program chair Christine Vandenhouten says interest has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many of the students that attend our program tend to stay in Northeast Wisconsin and continue to work and fill some of those gaps,” Vandenhouten said.

Though these educational programs are having initial success, health experts are worried it could get worse before it gets better. They say as more healthcare workers retire; they’ll need healthcare themselves.

“Our programs are helping fill the gap — the looming, increasing gap that is coming,” Vandenhouten said.

“We have an aging population, with the Baby Boomers that are going to have more needs,” said Dr. Zachary Baeseman, a family care physician at ThedaCare.

Dr. Zachary Baeseman, who practices family medicine in rural areas, says it was important to him to stay in-state when he completed his training.

“I think there is nothing more of a privilege than to be able to take care of my community and my patient,” Dr. Zachary Baeseman.

Dr. Baeseman says while more medical students are graduating locally, there needs to be more residency programs for them to get training. The goal is to keep them here in the area.


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