Supporting doctors in the practice of primary care

The Repayment for Education to Alumni in Community Health (REACH) Program provides financial incentives to encourage the next generation of physicians to practice in underserved communities on the South Side of Chicago.

The program provides a stipend to graduates of the Pritzker School of Medicine who complete a residency and then return to practice medicine at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or a community hospital. Up to five graduates at any one time each receive $40,000 per year for up to four years. This stipend is given in addition to the salary provided by the FQHC.

“The REACH Program provides a support system for young doctors who choose a career in public service to contribute without the pressures imposed by the burden of college and medical school loans,” says Holly J. Humphrey, MD, Professor of Medicine and Dean for Medical Education at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. REACH is thought to be the first time a private academic medical center has implemented a program that helps its young graduates manage their debt while simultaneously helping patients with limited resources and access to care.

The first REACH participant, Nina Vergari Rogers, began practicing family medicine in the fall of 2009 at the Chicago Family Health Center. She graduated from the Pritzker School of Medicine in 2006 and completed her residency in Family Medicine at the MacNeal Memorial Hospital in Illinois. Dionna Brown and Alanna Nzoma graduated from Pritzker in 2007 and joined the REACH program in 2010. Dr. Brown also trained at MacNeal and practices family medicine at Chicago Family Health Center. Dr. Nzoma completed her pediatrics residency at the University of Chicago Medical Center and practices at Friend Family Health Center.

HEAR WHAT OUR PHYSICIANS ARE SAYING ABOUT WHY THEY CHOSE REACH
 

"I am proud to be a part of the REACH program because it allows me to help where the need is greatest.  The program allowed me to practice in an underserved community without sacrificing salary.  The supplement allows me to feel less of the day to day financial burdens and the pride of knowing that my work is valued."

Nina Vergari Rogers, MD'06, First REACH Physician

"During my 3rd year of residency I had the hard and exciting task of deciding whether I would enter private practice or serve in an underserved community. The challenge of practicing in a community based clinic and having a large volume of patients straight out of residency was a huge plus in my decision. With my substantial debt that I had acquired through a private medical school education, I wondered if I could afford to practice in an underserved clinic. However, when I was informed of the REACH program through University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, I was excited that I would be able to choose a career path that was more meaningful to me."

Dionna Brown, MD'07, REACH Physician

"As I finished residency in Pediatrics at the University of Chicago, I knew I wanted to continue to serve this underserved community on the South side of Chicago and as a Pritzker graduate, REACH provided an extra incentive to do this. The REACH program assisted me with leads on job openings at FQHCs in the area. In addition, REACH is providing funds in addition to my salary to help with my substantial loan debt. As a new attending physician at the Friend Family Health Center, I am pleased that I can serve my South side of Chicago underserved community and not have to worry about my loans at the same time."

Alanna Nzoma, MD'07, REACH Physician

 

REACH Selection and Eligibility Criteria