St. Mary's Medical Education

8/05/13 — St. Mary’s Health Care System and the Georgia Regents University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership recently completed two major steps toward the creation of an Internal Medicine residency program at St. Mary’s Hospital.

On June 30, St. Mary’s and the Medical Partnership executed an Academic Affiliation Agreement that formalizes their earlier commitment to jointly develop an Internal Medicine teaching program. Then, on Aug. 1, the two organizations filed an Internal Medicine residency program application with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), setting in motion the formal process to accredit the program.

Within a few months, ACGME surveyors will visit the Medical Partnership campus in Athens and St. Mary’s Hospital to assess compliance with all applicable policies and procedures for residency training in Internal Medicine. The plan is for 30 Internal Medicine residents to begin their graduate medical education (GME) at St. Mary’s in July 2015.

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.

“It’s very exciting to reach the stage where we’re preparing for the Accreditation Council’s visit. This is a critical step in the creation of any residency program,” said Bruce F. Middendorf, M.D., St. Mary’s Chief Medical Officer and director of the system’s GME program.

“Georgia Regents University has decades of experience and an excellent reputation nationwide for the quality of its residency programs,” he continued. “UGA offers basic research, the College of Pharmacy, a growing public health program and more to further advance health care education. Our collaborative relationship with the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership ensures that residents at St. Mary’s will be part of a comprehensive program that completes their medical education and prepares them to become practicing physicians.”

“Support from the community faculty physicians to educate and train the residents has been remarkable,” 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. “The dedication, expertise and commitment from the area faculty will ensure the highest quality GME program in Internal Medicine.”

Charlie Upchurch, chair of St. Mary’s Health Care System Board of Directors, noted that the residency program demonstrates the commitment of both institutions to a collaborative approach toward remedying Georgia’s physician shortage, which is a serious issue for the communities St. Mary’s serves.

“The program will enable St. Mary’s to attract and retain more quality physicians to serve the greater Athens area,” he said. “We are excited to be moving forward with the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership as we work to make quality healthcare more accessible to our community for decades to come. 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.”

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