BELLEVUE - One of the reasons for putting the college in Green Bay was to encourage future doctors to study and work in the area. However, one of the ultimate goals is getting them to stay.
Amber Thor is finishing up her last couple months at Bellin College School of Nursing.
The future women's health nurse graduated UW-Stevens Point with a biology degree and intended to go to medical school.
"Family's important, so it was important for me to stay around, close to home," said Thor, who commutes from Manitowoc each day. "And I couldn't envision living farther away or far away."
That's why she ended up choosing nursing school instead.
However, Thor says if the Medical College of Wisconsin was in Green Bay at the time she was deciding her future, she says nursing school might not be involved.
"I wish that option would have been available a couple years ago," said Thor.
"We can't compel students to choose primary care," said Dr. John Raymond, President and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin during a press conference about the expansion. "But we can do many things to try and incentivize them to choose that as a specialty for the rest of their lives."
Hoping to admit the first group of medical students in the summer of 2015, the school expansion to Northeast Wisconsin comes at a time when the statewide need for primary care physicians is high.
According to MCW, 273 people from the Green Bay area applied to the medical school program over a five year period from 2007-2012.
MCW is currently in discussions with area academic and health care institutions for the development phase of the Green Bay expansion.
And area school leaders say MCW will only improve the area's education.
"This is a need for all of us and I think (the) Medical College just adds another component that's very important to this Northeast Wisconsin region," said UW Green Bay Chancellor Thomas Harden.
Thor says she wishes to eventually get a doctorate degree as a nurse practitioner.
Though that and MCW's first class is years away, she says she is excited about working with future MCW graduates close to home.
Each year, about 630 Wisconsin residents apply to the Medical College of Wisconsin's med school program.
The college says many come from underserved or rural areas of the state.
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