Newswise — The Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University has received notice of accreditation from the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for its residency program in internal medicine. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is the primary site for the program with participation from Bethesda Hospital East and Delray Medical Center, three of the five hospitals participating in the Graduate Medical Consortium (GME) supporting FAU residency programs. This residency, the first for the cities of Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and Delray Beach, marks an important milestone in bringing additional trained physicians into these communities and is FAU’s first university-sponsored graduate medical education program.
The internal medicine residency will bring a total of 96 physicians to FAU, with the first class of 36 residents starting in July 2014. This residency in internal medicine seeks highly qualified medical school graduates from across Florida and the nation. Furthermore, this residency program will provide the opportunity for FAU medical school graduates to continue their post-medical school training in Palm Beach County.
“Bringing residency programs to this region is a key element for our new medical school and a fulfillment of our commitment to have more trained doctors in our community,” said Dr. David J. Bjorkman, M.D., M.S.P.H., dean and executive director of medical affairs for the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. “We are extremely grateful to our partner hospitals who have been instrumental in planning and implementing this residency program.”
All residents will be employed by FAU with funds provided by the three participating hospitals who receive reimbursement for these costs through complex formulae from Federal Medicare and Medicaid funds. The College of Medicine will provide administrative support and oversight of the GME program, in partnership with the three participating hospitals, with the financial support from the hospitals, grant funding awarded by the Quantum Foundation, and direct funding from the Florida State Legislature starting in FY2014. Quantum Foundation made an early commitment in 2011 to fund the FAU GME programs with a grant to develop infrastructure to launch residencies in Palm Beach County.
“Increasing the number of residency programs will create a stronger and enhanced healthcare delivery system for us all,” said Dr. Mary Elizabeth Roth, M.D., vice dean for graduate medical education and clinical affairs at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. “About 50 percent of doctors choose to practice within 20 miles of where they complete their residency program.”
Florida, South Florida and the nation currently do not have enough residency positions to accommodate the increasing numbers of medical school graduates.
Up to this point, there has been a shortage of medical residency programs in the state of Florida and especially in this community. The large growth experienced by Florida and in particular by the local community has not been mirrored with the demands of developing competitive medical residency programs. As a result, many Florida graduating physicians leave the state to continue their training.
• Florida has fewer than 18 residents and fellows on duty per 100,000 population, ranking it 43 of 50 states nationally.
• Because there is a shortage of Florida residency program opportunities, most physicians practicing in Florida received their residency training outside of the state, and a significant number of Florida medical school graduates have no choice but to leave the state each year to complete their residency training.
“Our innovative internal medicine residency program may likely become a model for the state, if not the nation. The design of this residency program especially addresses and aims to resolve one of the direst needs for our region—the shortage of primary care physicians,” said Dr. Bernardo Obeso, M.D., internal medicine residency program director.
Post medical school residencies take between three to seven years to complete, depending on the specialty, and encompass the training for medical school graduates to become competent, board-certified physicians.
Using a patient-centered approach through interdisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals, which will include residents, FAU’s program will partner with the three participating hospitals using integrated conferencing with virtual classrooms. The FAU Medical Simulation Center will introduce residents to high risk procedures, while the use of electronic records and templates will help them master the transitions of care for high quality, lower cost care. Residents will learn from day one that patient safety and quality medical care are the hallmarks for lifelong learning of internal medicine. In addition, research and scholarly activity will be emphasized and facilitated by residency faculty and the partnering community hospitals as an integral part of this program.
In fall 2011, the FAU Consortium for Graduate Medical Education was formed in partnership with FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Bethesda Healthcare, and Tenet HealthCare system’s Delray Medical Center, St. Mary’s Medical Center and West Boca Medical Center to establish residency programs in specialties that would serve their communities, starting with internal medicine, general surgery, emergency medicine and psychiatry by 2015. Additional residencies in various specialties will follow as community needs suggest. The GME Consortium plans to train more than 400 residents in its five Palm Beach County hospitals by 2022.
The hospitals involved with the planning and development of the residency programs are Bethesda Hospital East (Roger Kirk, president and CEO and Dr. Albert Biehl, M.D., vice president of Medical Affairs), Boca Raton Regional Hospital (Jerry Fedele, president and CEO and Dr. Charles Posternack, M.D., chief medical officer), Delray Medical Center (Mark Bryan, CEO and Dr. Anthony Dardano, M.D., chief medical officer), St. Mary’s Medical Center (Davide Carbone, CEO and Dr. Jeffrey Davis, D.O., chief medical officer) and West Boca Medical Center (Mitch Feldman, CEO and Dr. Jack Harari, M.D., chief medical officer).
Members of the team that led the application of this internal medicine residency program include: Diane Fitz, director of graduate medical education, Dr. Bernardo Obeso, M.D., program director, and Dr. Charles Posternack, M.D., who started the process for the internal medicine residency as interim designated institutional official (DIO). With the arrival of Roth, the plans for the FAU Consortium broadened beyond just this internal medicine residency program to the present list of planned programs to start through 2019.
"Students seek programs such as FAU's internal medicine residency program, which combines the University's depth of research and scholarly activity with the clinical resources of the three community hospitals," said Fitz. "We are preparing for more than 2,500 qualified applicants for our 30 categorical positions, which will begin this fall."
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About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.