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Medical schools work to keep graduating doctors local

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Medical schools work to keep graduating doctors local
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Daniel Harris is just weeks away from graduating from Upstate Medical University. On July 1, he'll begin his residency in family medicine.

"I matched at St. Joseph's across town. It was my first choice, and Match Day was as great as anyone could have expected in terms of excitement," said Harris, a Wellsville native.

A few weeks ago, medical students found out where they'll be spending the next three or more years as they learn their medical speciality. Of the more than 150 students at Upstate Medical University, 17 will stay in Syracuse and many more will practice in other Upstate cities.

"All of our residency program directors work really hard to try to connect with our students right out of the gate to keep them here. Research is an added bonus. We have formal research opportunities with our students, as well as informal ones that they create themselves working with a PI. The Masters in Public Health program has certainly helped us in that respect as well too," said Julie White, the Upstate Medical University Dean of Student Affairs.

As the physician shortage in Upstate New York continues to grow, medical schools are working even harder to keep students local.

"Seven or eight years ago, about 50 percent of our students in the college of medicine were out of state students. We are now well over 85 percent of our incoming classes are New York State residents. And that has been intentional," said White.

Harris added, "I think it's incredibly important and that's one of the biggest points of pride I have about my medical school at SUNY Upstate. They're really making an effort to find doctors to pipeline back into the area and treat people here in Upstate New York, as well as all over New York."

As for Harris, he's from a small town south of Rochester, and says there is definitely a need for physicians there. If he has the opportunity, he'd like to go back there after his residency.

As for the rest of Upstate's graduates, 81 percent matched at one of their top three residency programs.

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