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Johnson City a Top 10 med school destination

Rex Barber • Feb 13, 2012 at 10:40 PM

There are places to go to medical school, and there are really good places to go to medical school, according to a national magazine.

And Johnson City is apparently one of the top 10 cities in the nation to get a medical degree, according to the January/February issue of PreMedLife, a publication geared toward people thinking of becoming doctors.

Dr. Philip Bagnell, East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine dean, said the campus and academic environments are part of the attraction of ETSU’s medical school but the community certainly plays a role, and this ranking is evidence of that.

“The point to make from this is the environment we create is important in our ability to attract,” Bagnell said. “So congratulations to our community. It’s a good place to live, which we knew.”

The other cities on the list with medical schools were Nashville; Memphis; Omaha, Neb.; Little Rock, Ark.; Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Lexington, Ky.

Besides being named to the list, Johnson City was named editor’s choice by the magazine.

“It’s great,” Bagnell said. “And it’s neat that we were the editor’s choice.”

The PreMedLife story said Johnson City was an economic hub fueled by ETSU and the “Med-Tech” corridor.

“And all of that nice medical stuff makes it an even better place for medical students to flock to. Add nice climate, affordable housing, and low cost of living — what more can a student ask for?” the article read.

There are 66 possible medical student slots available to ETSU’s program each year. This past year around 1,600 applications were received by the school.

At the end of medical school, graduates are given an in-depth exit interview. Bagnell said students are very candid in this interview. They typically say it was the culture of the region that led them to choose ETSU for their medical studies.

“So this tells you that the community part was important,” Bagnell said.

Bagnell said the entire region, from Bristol to Kingsport and on down to Sevierville and other places, is actually responsible for creating a good community feel for medical students.

He said this is good, because if students feel welcome, and especially residents, then they will return or stay in the area. That in turn helps ETSU’s medical school mission to provide physicians for rural practices.

Bagnell wants to grow the school’s residency training program. He said having a good cultural and community environment to expose residents to will be a major facet in that growth.

“I think the medical school plays a role in this, but I think the community deserves praise in this,” Bagnell said.

PreMedLife magazine is available online at www.premedlife.com.

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