ABINGDON, Va. – There’s a national shortage of family medicine doctors, but a collaborative effort by Johnston Memorial Hospital (JMH) and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) is already helping to fill that need in our region.
The two organizations in 2013 partnered to create a new residency program at JMH. That program is starting to pay off with the addition of the first class of new resident physicians who began practicing at Johnston Memorial Hospital in July. Residents at JMH will train across all specialties.
“By training our primary care physicians and other needed specialists here in our region, we anticipate a significant number of them will eventually choose to establish their practices in our area,” said Sean McMurray, VP/CEO at Johnston Memorial Hospital.
The Association of American Medical Colleges recently predicted a shortage of nearly 100,000 physicians in the U.S. by 2020. Nowhere in Virginia is the doctor shortage more critical than in the southwestern part of the state.
“Fifty percent of physicians practice within 50 miles of where they train. Our six interns starting in July represent three physicians practicing in our community in three short years,” said Dr. Hughes Melton, VP of Medical Education at Mountain States.
Like allopathic physicians (MD), osteopathic physicians (DO) also complete four years of medical school that includes training in sciences and clinical medicine prior to entering residency training. In addition, osteopathic physicians have a focus on holistic care including hands-on manipulation of muscles, bones and ligaments. Osteopathic medicine focuses on patient-centered care and many osteopathic physicians choose to enter residency training in primary care.
Dr. Ronna New is director of medical education for Mountain States’ Northeast Region and is program director for JMH’s family medicine residency.
“By providing quality residency training to physicians who know and appreciate our region, we know that they understand our health care needs when they graduate and are well prepared to practice medicine in our communities to help meet those needs,” she said.