Southern Oregon Medical Workforce Center (SOMWC) Project

Umpqua Valley Development Corporation is exploring the feasibility of developing the Southern Oregon Medical Workforce Center (SOMWC) in Roseburg, Oregon. The center would provide training for high-demand health care providers, offer affordable and accessible post-secondary medical education, serve as a pipeline of skilled allied and mental health providers, and ensure ongoing access to local quality health care.

The SOMWC is designed to address shortages of health professionals and training programs in rural Oregon. Of the 36 counties in Oregon, 26 are fully or partially designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) by the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration. Twenty-four of these counties are rural. Simultaneously, health education programs in Oregon are predominantly located in the urban areas and lack sufficient capacity to address projected needs in the state. Additionally, these programs are highly competitive, with admission rates ranging from six percent to 35 percent. At the local level, the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Health Care System (Roseburg VA) has an ongoing need for graduates of accredited nursing programs to support its operations.

Regionally-based medical training programs are essential for addressing southern Oregon’s health care needs. Over 75 percent of nursing program graduates end up working within 100 miles of their school, and Oregon-born health professionals working in southern Oregon have a lower turnover rate (10 percent) than those born outside the state (14 percent).

Umpqua Valley Development Corporation has partnered with George Fox University to explore the development of the following programs: Doctor of Medical Science, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Psychology, Doctor of Nurse Practitioner, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Registered Nurse to Bachelors, Master of Social Work, and Bachelor of Social Work. Other academic institutions may be recruited to develop more programs. In addition to providing local health training, the SOMWC plans to use rural clinical rotations and several market-based cost savings mechanisms to encourage graduates further to work in rural Oregon.