The University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine is receiving $10.8 million from the state to bolster medical specialties that are facing a shortage of physicians.

The university announced the funds will be used over a two-year period to pay the salaries of medical residents and cover administrative costs for the school’s residency programs in internal medicine, family medicine, and psychiatry.

The school has 67 residents this year. With the new grant, the school will add 27 more — 12 to psychiatry and 15 to internal medicine, UIW spokesman Michael Valdés said.

The grant will also also expand the school’s internal medicine program, which is currently only in Laredo through a partnership with the Laredo Medical Center, to San Antonio, where the 15 new residents will be stationed, Valdés said.

“We are grateful to the Texas Legislature and the (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board) for their foresight and generous support of graduate medical education in Texas,” Dr. Robyn Phillips-Madson, dean of the school, said in a statement announcing the funds. “This will ultimately improve access to high quality care in the communities we serve.”

Studies show physicians tend to stay in the areas where they finish their residency programs, the statement said.

A 2018 Department of State Health Services report attributes a statewide shortage of primary-care doctors to continued population growth in Texas and says the projected growth in medical school enrollment and resident positions will not be sufficient to meet the demand for primary care doctors.

The report projected the physician shortage over the next 12 years will grow by more than 83 percent in the San Antonio region and more than 67 percent throughout the state.

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To address a shortage of first-year residency positions, state lawmakers in 2013 started several programs that eventually resulted in the creation in 2015 of the State of Texas Graduate Medical Education Expansion Program, from which UIW is receiving the grants.

Lawmakers increased program funding by millions of dollars in the two legislative sessions that followed, in 2017 and 2019. Last year, the total appropriated funds for the 2020-2021 biennium was $157 million.

Article originally published here: UIW receives $10.8 million for medical residency programs in San Antonio