Winter Haven, FL June 23, 2017
Winter Haven Hospital Announces the Florida State University College of Medicine Family Medicine Residency Program at Winter Haven Hospital
Winter Haven Hospital President Steve Nierman
Steve Nierman, President of Winter Haven Hospital announced the hospital’s next endeavor to increase access of care – the development of a Family Medicine Physician Residency Program, also commonly known as a Graduate Medical Education program. This is a big deal for Winter Haven and Polk County.
The Winter Haven Hospital Foundation, under the direction of Board Chairman Lance Anastasio and Foundation President Joel Thomas, commissioned an extensive feasibility study for how to improve access to primary care through a family medicine residency program. The findings were supportive, so Winter Haven Hospital is moving forward with the first steps.
More physicians means better access. So how do we bring more primary care physicians, also known as Family Medicine, to Winter Haven?
After medical students graduate with their MD, they move onto a residency or fellowship training program in a specific area of medicine. Winter Haven Hospital is planning to develop a 3-year Family Medicine Residency program right here in Winter Haven. These resident physicians will provide a medical home for many of the underserved and at risk population in our community.
The Association of American Medical Colleges says that 78% of physicians who complete their medical education and residency in Florida, remain in the state to practice. Winter Haven Hospital’s goal is to retain at least 50% of its residency graduates to open or join a practice in Polk County. Because the residents in training will improve primary care access for the underserved, they will treat patients who otherwise might seek routine primary care at Polk County hospital ERs.
In addition to physician residents, the program would include additional full-time employees including a program director and physician faculty. Intentions are to begin training the first six residents in July of 2019.
Winter Haven Hospital estimates that 14,000 patients can be seen per year through this residency program at maturity. Improved access and quality routine care equals a healthier community.
Florida State University President John Thrasher
Florida State University College of Medicine Dean John
Pictured from left to right are: Florida State University College of Medicine Dean John P. Fogarty, Winter Haven Hospital Foundation President Joel Thomas, and Florida State University President John Thrasher