This month, our class became the fifth to graduate from Tufts University’s School of Medicine and Maine Medical Center’s Maine Track Program. The program was developed out of a growing need to recruit doctors to practice primary care in rural Maine. Over the course of our four years, we got the chance to learn and practice alongside some of Maine’s most talented and committed physicians in places such as Portland, Skowhegan, Norway, Farmington, Bar Harbor, Damariscotta and Lewiston.

We couldn’t have asked for a better experience in learning the ropes of medicine. We are proud to report that a full third of our class chose to stay in Maine for their residency. Of the rest, many hope and plan to return to Maine when they’ve completed their training.

As we plan our future, we’re faced with deciding where we will practice as doctors. Here’s a short list of factors that are important to us: choosing places where we can have the biggest impact, given our specialties and populations we wish to serve; the communities we hope to settle down in, with special attention to their school systems; and proximity to family, as many of us are originally from Maine.

Here’s what hasn’t risen to the top of our list of concerns: contributing an extra 3 percent of any taxable income over $200,000 to ensure that Maine has the resources to fully fund our public schools.

It’s perplexing and frustrating to see doctors being tossed around as political footballs in the debate over Maine’s biennial budget this year. We’ve heard Gov. Paul LePage say time and time again that droves of doctors are going to leave our state because of Question 2, which was passed by voters last November to ensure steady funding for public education in Maine.

It’s perplexing because as far as we know, doctors are highly supportive of public education. We, the undersigned, were proud to support Question 2. It’s frustrating because we are going into the medical profession to help people, and our decisions about where we will practice are not based on tax policy. If lawmakers are truly concerned about the shortage of doctors in our state, they would do well to study the success of the Maine Track Program and support initiatives like it.


It’s worth noting that many doctors who practice primary care – pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine and the like – earn under $200,000 a year. But for the sake of this discussion, let’s suppose a doctor earning a salary of $250,000 has to pay a 3 percent surcharge: She or he would contribute an additional $1,500 in taxes each year that will fund classroom education. Likewise, a doctor earning $300,000 would contribute an extra $3,000. Contrary to the governor’s argument, we do not believe such sums would drive doctors away from Maine.

As doctors, we have been trained to treat people, not symptoms. Rather than administer medicine in a reductionist way, we strive to understand the full picture of a person’s health. In this case, reducing the complexity of what drives somebody’s decision about where they choose to live, practice medicine, raise a family and be part of a community to a tax surcharge for education is overly simplistic and likely misses the mark altogether.

As members of the Tufts University School of Medicine Maine Track Class of 2017 – Kyle Deerwester, M.D. candidate 2018; Louis Eubank, M.D.; Catherine Ezzio, M.D.; Christin Folker, M.D.; Astrid Gleaton, M.D.; Molly Hallweaver, M.D.; Nicketti Handy, M.D.; Erica Hidu, M.D.; Julia Jacobs, M.D.; Leigh Johnson, M.D.; Anna Jorgensen, M.D.; Jay Larmon, M.D.; Jennifer MacDowell, M.D.; Lauren Manning, M.D.; Elizabeth McClure, M.D.; Taieri McKenzie, M.D.; Jasmine Mikami, M.D.; Emily Niemi Holden, M.D.; Miranda Rogers, M.D.; Johanna Salay, M.D.; Emily Sangillo, M.D.; Karl Santiago, M.D.; Kayleigh Sullivan, M.D.; Emily Serrell, M.D. candidate 2018; Conor Walsh, M.D.; Brian Wasser, M.D.; Chris Welter, M.D.; Winsor Wesson, M.D.; and Paul Yannopoulos, M.D. – we are so proud that we learned to be doctors in Maine.

We hope that many more children receive high-quality education in Maine and go on to become doctors and practice here. We urge lawmakers to pass a budget that fully funds our schools and upholds the will of the voters.


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