2/13/13 — St. Mary’s internal medicine residency program has taken a major step closer to becoming reality: The Georgia Regents University/University of Georgia (GRU/UGA) Medical Partnership has formally filed with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to be the residency program’s sponsoring institution.
“This is the critical first step in creating any residency program,” said Bruce F. Middendorf, M.D., St. Mary’s Chief Medical Officer and director of the system’s graduate medical education (GME) program. GME is the final step of a physician’s formal education. It takes place in teaching hospitals, which create programs that allow residents to practice medicine under the supervision and instruction of fully licensed physicians.
“Partnering with the Georgia Regents University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership ensures the highest quality GME Program,” said Dr. Middendorf. “We are turning our commitment into action. We’re moving from the 60,000-foot view to the nuts-and-bolts details of crafting a first-class GME program.”
“We begin this journey together to build a high-quality GME program for Athens and the surrounding region,” said Michelle A. Nuss, M.D., Campus Associate Dean for GME at the Medical Partnership and the Designated Institutional Official for St. Mary’s GME program. “We have lots of work before us, but this is a very big first step.”
“We are excited to be moving forward with the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership as the sponsor of the St. Mary’s residency program,” said Charlie Upchurch, chair of St. Mary’s Board of Directors. “Building a quality GME program takes tremendous commitment at every level of both organizations. We are honored that the leadership of the partnership school has great confidence in St. Mary’s and our dedication to excellent physician education.”
Creating a quality residency program at St. Mary’s is vital to the future of healthcare in Northeast Georgia, Dr. Middendorf added. Studies demonstrate that about 70 percent of new physicians choose to practice in the communities where they complete their residency.
“Bringing residents to St. Mary’s ultimately benefits not only St. Mary’s and our patients but our whole community,” Dr. Middendorf said. “We already have a shortage of internal medicine practitioners in our area, and many of our current physicians are nearing retirement age. Our residency program will be a major step toward ensuring that the communities we serve will continue to have access to essential medical care in the years to come.”
St. Mary’s hopes to recruit its first class of residents to begin training in the summer of 2015.