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Refugee populations drawing doctors to rural Kansas

Group of multiracial doctors, (image courtesy of Getty Images)

GARDEN CITY, Kan. — Somali refugees who have settled in a Kansas meatpacking town are the cornerstone of an innovative recruiting effort to entice new doctors to rural hospitals.

It’s an effort that grew out of the realization that many millennials graduating from medical schools have a burning passion for international humanitarian work.

Hospitals that are involved in the effort are encouraging doctors to work with immigrant populations and learn the language and culture before heading overseas. They also offer generous time off for medical trips abroad.

Twenty-five Kansas doctors have joined a loose network of physicians working across western Kansas. The group is working to solidify that arrangement by forming a nonprofit group.

Their efforts come amid President Donald Trump’s attempts to restrict the influx of refugees.