Experts in the medical field predict a significant shortage of physicians by the year 2020 on the western slope if something isn't done to expand medical training. To prevent such a shortage St. Mary's Hospital and the University of Clorado at Denver Health Sciences Center are working together to develop a clinical branch campus in Grand Junction which would host full–time residents from CU. This would give 3rd and 4th year medical students the opportunity to complete their clinical rotations here in the grand valley. State Representative Bernie Buescher is working with legislators to get sustainable funding for the project. Buescher says bringing a well–recognized state residency program will offer a strong medical curriculum for future doctors of the western slope and help the local economy. St. Mary's currently participates in the "Rural Rotations" program which places students in hospitals around the state for a 6 week period. The new program would make St. Mary's only the second in the state to host full–time medical students from CU.