Washington D.C.’s Unity Health Care Inc., along with partners A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU) and the Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education, celebrated the establishment of the first residency and medical training community campus in the Nation’s Capital this week. The event was held at Unity’s Upper Cardozo Health Center and included remarks from ATSU, the Wright Center, Unity, NACHC and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.
“This is a magnificent place for patients to be treated. We are looking forward to the partnership. We really believe that is where health care has to be headed if we are going to take care of the unprecedented need and demand that is coming,” said Craig Phelps, D.O., President of A.T. Still University. “This new model is a paradigm shift. You don’t get to change paradigms in medical education very often. The fact that you have four institutions in a community behind a paradigm shift is unprecedented in medical education. So we are up to the challenge. “
The unique, collaborative program is funded through a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)and will place 87 graduates over three years in Community Health Centers around the country, including at Unity Health Centers in D.C. The program signals a focus on addressing the primary care physician shortage trained to work in underserved areas through “homegrown recruitment strategies for medical education and residency programs.” Not only is the program addressing current and future shortages in primary care, but it will also encourage local students to become primary care physicians who practice within their home communities.
“This group came together and did what most people would say is absolutely impossible. No one who has worked in graduate medical education or health care in that matter would ever think that something would come together, that has such an impact on where health care will go in the future, in seven days,” said Brian Ebersole, Education and Community Relevance Leader for the Wright Center about how the program came together. “It’s very exciting. The synergy we’ve created for the underserved is going to be felt for years to come.”
Unity will welcome six residents and ten medical students to their Community Health Centers in July of 2013. These residents and students will have completed their first year of medical school and will complete years two to four at the community campus. Different from traditional medical training programs, the medical students and residents will be training mostly in a community setting. They will still need to complete the in-patient hospital training but the majority of their training and outpatient experience will be completed at health centers.“To meet the increase in demand for services we need interdisciplinary teams and culturally competent clinicians. What better place to train these caring, compassionate, committed students and residents than a health center, and who could ask for better partners,” said Don Weaver, M.D., NACHC’s Chief Medical Officer, who thanked all the organizations involved.
D.C. Mayor Vince Gray congratulated Unity saying, “this is yet another step in the right direction with Unity leading the way in addressing the continuing need for health professionals. This is the first residency and medical training campus in the District of Columbia and what better place to do it, right here in throes of the work being done by Unity. “