New Preceptor Hub intended to create medical provider ‘pipeline’ in region

By on February 15, 2024

Ocracoke/Engelhard/Manteo Medical Centers CEO Joe Rockenstein says the plan is to build up local healthcare resources. (Credit: North Carolina Medical Society)

During the Feb. 13 meeting of the Manteo Healthcare Task Force, Franklin Walker, vice-president of the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS), announced the creation of a local Preceptor Hub that will provide training to medical students coming from several North Carolina colleges.

A preceptor, as Walker explained in a later interview with the Voice, is a trained health care clinician who teaches and trains medical students, nurse practitioner students or physician assistant students.

The goal is to beef up healthcare resources and create a provider pipeline in an area where there has been a significant shortage of providers. In a press release about the new hub, the NCMS referenced the May 2022 letter sent to more than 2,400 patients at Outer Banks Family Medical Practice informing them they could no longer receive medical services there because of that shortage—an event that triggered intensive efforts to try and mitigate the problem.

Those efforts included the creation of the Manteo Healthcare Task Force in July 2022 and the opening of the Manteo Community Health Center a year later.

“We’re creating a [medical] workforce pipeline for the state of North Carolina by doing this Preceptor Hub,” Walker told the Voice.

In the follow-up interview with Walker and one with Joe Rockenstein, CEO of the Ocracoke/Engelhard/Manteo Medical Centers, more details about how the impending Preceptor Hub will work emerged.

According to Walker, current plans are for two students to arrive in the area after Labor Day, “subject to change if I’m able to recruit more practices and preceptors.” One, he said, would be located in the Ocracoke Health Center and housed in an apartment over the clinic. The other student will be at the Engelhard Medical Center, where a rental housing unit is available. The students will do four-week rotations, he added.

The issue of when medical students will be assigned to the Manteo Community Health Center facility is not as clear at the moment. Walker says he hopes Manteo will become the “epicenter, the hub of the spoke,” for this new program. He added that once students are training in Manteo, several residents have already offered space in their homes to house them.

In his interview, Rockenstein said that the new Preceptor Hub calls for a total of six students to come to area in the program in the period between July 1, 2024 and June 30, 2025, adding that participation in the program depends on several factors, including scheduling with the colleges that will be placing student in the program.

“We’re trying to get the program going, trying to build up our capability of trying to deliver [more healthcare resources] to the area,” Rockenstein said.

SEE ALSO: NC Medical Society unveils Preceptor Hub in Manteo

See what people are saying:

  • Thinking About the Future

    It certainly would be helpful to hear about the doctors who will be seeing patients at the Manteo Healthcare Clinic. I haven’t heard a word about new doctors since Dr. Harrison left or was asked to leave (don’t think that has ever been made public) the practice in Manteo.

    Thursday, Feb 15 @ 4:57 pm