New Program Recruits International Doctors to the Delta

Posted July 29, 2004 @ 5:21 p.m. CDT

West Memphis, AR -- People who live in the Arkansas Delta are at a disadvantage when it comes to having access to doctors. One reason is because it's hard to recruit doctors to the impoverished area.

Dr. Ownya and Dr. Vaidya are physicians at Crittenden Memorial Hospital. The two have more in common than a medical degree. They were both born outside of the United States but came here to complete their medical studies. On a normal basis they would be required to return to their home country for at least two years before practicing medicine in the United States. But under a new Physician Visa Waiver program they can by-pass those two years and stay here. In order to stay the physicians have to agree to work in a medically underserved area. "Even though Memphis is just ten miles down the road rounding up doctors is still a challenge. " said Ramona Taylor, director of development at Crittenden Memorial.

The program is a win-win situation for the doctors and the community. Administrators at Crittenden Memorial are looking forward to welcoming two more international doctors this fall.