Thursday, July 23, 2009

Guam Medical Community Talks About Bringing Talent Back Home

Guam's medical community talks about bringing talent back home
By Janjeera Hail
Published Jul 23, 2009

Local doctors and island leaders are concerned over about the state of healthcare in the territory and are coming together to find solutions. This morning, local doctors and medical professionals hosted a very special meeting - a discussion with medical professionals from Guam on how the island can stop the brain drain and bring local talent home.

Joining the conference via telephone were off-island physicians and medical students who discussed their perspective on why doctors from Guam choose to stay in the States after receiving training. Local physician Dr. Patrick Santos said, "The cost of medical education is astronomical - it's just too much and you owe money because you have student loan, and of course, there's bureaucracy on Guam. He added, "if you sub-specialize, Guam may not have that clientele patients, or Guam may not have that facility. So there's a lot of factors involved."

With the impending military buildup, Guam will require a greater number of medical professionals to serve a growing population. And that also means a greater number of opportunities. Now, more than ever, medical students from Guam have the opportunity to return home to a strong economic environment even while the rest of the nation struggles.

Medical student Christian Eusebio told KUAM News, "There's first-year residents in the States I've talked to; they want to come back so if we can continue to have this communication and improve the healthcare on Guam, that'd be great," he said.

In the meantime, Senator Eddie Calvo says that there are steps that policymakers and the local community can take towards enticing medical professionals to share their talents on Guam. "They mentioned certain laws that were enacted in the past that need to be worked on, so that's where we can move on there are also some of these areas in the administrative level and administration of certain things such as the Pro-Tech Scholarship, those things don't need to be worked on legislatively, but we have to look at the process and try to improve on it," he said.

Although the island will continue to face hurdles in drawing home medical professionals, today's forum illustrates the island's commitment to bringing our doctors home.

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