To encourage more family medicine doctors to start their medical practices in Lincoln County, Samaritan Health Services is developing a local family medicine residency program. This program will give young physicians the opportunity to train in Samaritan’s two Lincoln County hospitals, helping them gain a deeper understanding of rural medicine which will enable them to stay and maintain long-term, successful practices.
While still a few years away from bringing the first trainee to the coast, the program took a significant leap forward earlier this year with the boost of two grants totaling $1.2 million — enough to move full-steam ahead in developing the program.
“We are thrilled that this program is on its way,” said Lesley Ogden, MD, chief executive officer of Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital and Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital. “We feel the program will allow us to grow our own physicians within the county – people who, after their third year in the residency program, will know our communities and want to build their practices locally.”
The Family Medicine Residency Program Rural Training Track, which will be based at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, will be an accredited, stand-alone program with ties to Samaritan’s Family Medicine residency program in Corvallis.
“The training program at the coast will offer a different model of family medicine training than the model we use in the valley,” said Marcus Alderman, director of Samaritan’s Academic Affairs. “Residents will spend their first year at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis to work with higher acuity patients, and then will spend their second and third years based at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport, with training throughout Lincoln County.”
A residency program is a post-graduate program for physicians that is required to obtain an unrestricted license to practice medicine. Because they are still in training, residents work alongside an attending physician, seeing patients in a variety of settings. Once they graduate, they may affiliate with the hospital where they trained or choose to go elsewhere.
“Of course, it is our goal to keep graduates within our Samaritan system. That was part of the initial vision when establishing residency training programs,” said Alderman.
Since 2011, Samaritan has successfully retained 40 residents to practice medicine in their specific medical specialty, 13 of those in family medicine. Of all the graduates in family medicine, more than 70% have decided to stay in Oregon.
“We feel this new model of training, specifically geared to rural medicine in a coastal setting, will help us address the shortage of physicians at the coast,” said Alderman.
With grant monies from the Oregon Health Authority and the Health Resources & Services Administration now available, next steps now in progress include getting accreditation and hiring a program director. The goal is to accept the first class of trainees in 2022.
This project was funded by the Healthy Oregon Workforce Training Opportunity Grant Program, which is administered under the direction of the Oregon Health Policy Board in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority and OHSU. For more information, visit ohsu.edu/howto.
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $749,999 with 0% financed with nongovernmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.