ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Mayo Clinic's ambitious "Destination Medical Center" proposal gets more attention Tuesday at the State Legislature. A second House committee will be going over the plan that aims to make Rochester a cosmopolitan urban center.
While DMC envisions making the city a great place visitors and patients, it's also about making Rochester a place where medical school graduates will want to stay.
And with the U.S. facing a doctor shortage, Mayo Clinic wants to do everything it can to keep its carefully selected physicians here in Rochester.
Dr. Bradly Narr, the Medical Director of DMC says the medical field is seeing a huge need for new doctors as the population ages and more people become insured under the Affordable Care Act.
While Mayo Clinic has no problem at all bringing future doctors into medical school, eventually many of them move out of Rochester.
"We've created in the state of Minnesota a phenomenal place to live, I think, said Dr. Narr. "It's a great place. No bugs."
Minnesota might have one thing on a tropical paradise, but Mayo Clinic doctors are among the first to tell you -- it's not that simple to turn Rochester into a place you're happy to call home.
"We're competing against other institutions that are in a lot better destinations," Dr. Narr said.
In Rochester, days with heavy snowfall aren't uncommon, and a 30 degree day in February is considered pretty nice. While that's fine for hearty Minnesotans, it's a big barrier for people who come out of good coastal schools.
"We've overcome parts of it," said Dr. Narr. "We have skyways. We have the subway. We have really really good cars that start the first try even when it's 30 below zero."
However, weather's not the only problem. After all, Mayo Clinic has no problem finding candidates for its medical school.
"The first thing I noticed was that these were the happiest medical students I'd ever seen," said Linda Drozdowicz a third year medical student from Connecticut.
It's just after spending four years here, many medical students don't like the city enough to want to stick around.
"The culture has been a little challenging for me," said Drozdowicz. "It was definitely a big change which I expected, but even after about three years, there are parts of it that are still difficult."
Just like for any business, losing employees after a few years of training is a loss on investment.
"Just like anything else, if they come here and stay for two or four or six years and really get their skill set up, and then they leave, then that costs us a lot," Dr. Narr said.
That is why a big part of DMC is building more and better housing downtown, building a stronger culture and creating more places people want to visit.
"We'd like to make sure people want to spend their entire careers here," Dr. Narr said.
That's not say that there aren't people who do want that.
"I'll be definitely hopefully interviewing here, but that's kind of up to the Match Day and the powers that be," said Clay Smither, a second year medical student who says he would like to build a career in Rochester.
So Dr. Narr says the plan it's about keeping the best parts of the city, and adding some aspects that bigger cities do better.
"The whole message of DMC is we want to take this to the next level, and I think it's really really possible," Dr. Narr said. "I can taste it."
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