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SMH Moves Forward with Residency Program

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Sarasota Memorial Hospital Courtyard TowerSARASOTA (Feb. 17, 2015)  – Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is moving ahead with plans to develop an Internal Medicine Residency Program for newly graduated doctors.

Sarasota Memorial already provides education to third- and fourth-year Florida State University medical students. The Internal Medicine Residency Program would take that training one step further, creating Sarasota’s first residency program for new physicians graduating from medical schools. 

It would also complete Sarasota Memorial's evolution to a nationally recognized "teaching hospital," said Sarasota Memorial Chief Medical Operations Officer Steve Taylor, MD.

“Creating a residency program is the next logical step in Sarasota Memorial's progression to become a teaching hospital, but it's also an important move for our region,” he said. “Without more residency programs, the physician shortage that Florida is experiencing will only worsen as our population swells and our existing physician workforce retires. 

“Our hope is that the students and doctors we are training today will stay and establish primary care and specialty practices in our community tomorrow."

Sarasota Memorial is finalizing an affiliation agreement with Florida State University, with initial plans to fill as many as 10 new residency slots by July 2017. It will take several million dollars and at least two years to establish the curriculum, infrastructure and medical staff faculty needed to win final approval from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to start a residency program, Taylor said. 

Once approved by the ACGME, the program will allow residents to undergo three years of training in Internal Medicine at Sarasota Memorial, with inpatient and outpatient rotations in cardiology, pulmonology, infectious disease, gastroenterology, critical care and elective subspecialties. The residents also will have opportunities to gain experience in a range of outpatient settings through Sarasota Memorial’s First Physicians Group network and Community Medical Clinic.

After earning their medical degrees, all physicians must complete a residency program to apply for a license and privileges to practice medicine in the United States.  National surveys indicate that where a physician practices a residency has a greater impact on whether they'll stay in an area than where they attend medical school, said Bruce Berg, MD, regional campus dean for the FSU College of Medicine in Sarasota. 

“Our partnership is a win-win-win situation – for FSU, Sarasota Memorial and our entire community,” Berg said. "As we develop these excellent physicians, we are going to do everything possible to encourage them to make Sarasota their home."

About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System:
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of inpatient, outpatient and extended care services, with more than 800 physicians, 4,000 employees and 800,000 patient visits a year. Sarasota Memorial’s 819-bed acute care hospital has been recognized repeatedly as one of the nation’s best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services– from urgent care centers and physician groups, to laboratory and imaging centers, home health, rehabilitation and long-term care.

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