Health Center News, Uncategorized

Federal Grant To Fund Unique Residency Program in Underserved Communities

By Marisol Murphy Ballantyne

Photo from A.T. Still University, Mesa, AZ

It’s no secret that two of the nation’s pressing health care challenges are the shortage of primary care physicians trained to work with underserved populations and changes in federal funding for medical training. However, a collaborative, multi-state, centrally run effort between The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education and A.T. Still University of Health Sciences’ School of Osteopathic Medicine may help offset these challenges.

Recently awarded a grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for more than $4 million, the two organizations will launch a national family-medicine residency program placing 87 graduates over three years in Community Health Centers around the country.  The program aims “to create a pipeline of doctors trained to work with underserved rural and urban populations and in team-based practices that emphasize keeping entire communities healthy.”

The collaborative nature of the initiative makes it unlike other residency programs. Although centrally run, the effort will be spread out among health care organizations in five states, including Arizona, Ohio, Oregon, New York, Washington, and the District of Columbia. The first 29 residents will be divided among Community Health Centers in medically underserved communities in those five states.

“These residencies will serve as a model for a new paradigm for training physicians to function effectively within a rapidly evolving healthcare system.  Physicians trained in these programs will become leaders in shaping medicine in this country and will be a force to improve the health of individual patients as well as the overall health of their communities,” said Thomas McWilliams, DO, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education at A. T. Still University of Health Sciences’ School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA).