The redwood curtain that shelters Humboldt County from the rest of the world is often praised and appreciated, but like most things in life, it comes at a cost. I'm sure most of you could come up with a few different examples of this 'seclusion tax', but in my opinion, one of the most detrimental is our resounding lack of quality healthcare professionals. This problem was inflamed in 2010 when HSU cut it's Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and has had trouble making up the lost ground since. This decision helped propel our already spiraling healthcare system because statistics show (2019 Merritt Hawkins Final-Year Medical Residents Survey) that while 70.4% of medical professionals who had a residency in California, choose to remain in our state, only 1% preferred to work in a town with a population less then 25,000. Given that Humboldt County only has one city (Eureka) with more then 25,000 people, the odds are stacked against us. In my opinion, the best way around this is to have our own residency program, we could then can give some freshly educated doctors a real feel for our community in hopes that they see Humboldt through our perspective, a place to call home.
Luckily for us, St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka is doing just that with their newly up-and-running Family Medicine Residency Program! My wife and I moved back here after she graduated from pharmacy school, due in large part to being able to complete the majority of her pharmacy school rotations locally, which gave her a feel for our local pharmaceutical career opportunities. Now that St. Joe's has a Family Medicine Residency program, logic would suggest that we will see an upgrade in our local primary care physician service and avilability for new patience. On July 1st of this year, St. Joe's inaugural class of six new Family Medicine Residents began their 'rounds' in our community. Granted, it will wil be a few years before our community experiences the positive ripple effect from this, but as they say, 'Rome wasn't built in a day'!