Institute for Family Health is Designated One of the First “Teaching Health Centers” in the U.S., and the Only One in New York State

Kingston, NY (February 18, 2011) — The Institute for Family Health announced today that it will be one of the first federally-funded Teaching Health Centers in the country. The Institute’s program seeks to address critical shortages of primary care physicians across the state by training 12 additional physicians in the next five years. According to the Center for Health Workforce Studies, over three-quarters of the primary care physicians now practicing in high-need New York State communities completed their residency training within the state – a trend the Institute says it hopes to accelerate.

“The Institute has a strong track record of training family medicine residents who continue to practice in high-need communities,” said Dr. Neil Calman, President and CEO of the Institute for Family Health.  “It’s no secret that New York State is facing a shortage of primary care doctors, particularly in rural and low-income communities. By adding residency positions through the Teaching Health Centers program, we’ll attract more committed family physicians to the Mid-Hudson Valley, many of whom will choose to stay here once their training is complete.”

Last week, the Institute for Family Health received a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the federal agency charged with making health services available to all Americans. The Institute, a non-profit health center network, is one of only 11 organizations to receive this inaugural funding, and the only one in New York State. The Institute’s Teaching Health Center grant will permit its Mid-Hudson Family Medicine Residency Program to expand from 18 to 30 residents, with the first four additional residents beginning in July 2011.

The Institute for Family Health’s Mid-Hudson Family Medicine Residency Program is operated in collaboration with The Kingston Hospital, part of Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley.  David Lundquist, chief executive officer of Health Alliance, described the program as an asset to the hospital, saying, “Expanding the program means there will be more doctors in the city and the surrounding communities.  We are delighted to participate.”

In a statement announcing the awards, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “The Teaching Health Center program is an integral part of our mission to strengthen the nation’s primary care workforce and ensure that all Americans have adequate access to care.”

Since its inception in 1979, the Institute’s Mid-Hudson residency program has trained almost 200 family medicine residents, roughly two-thirds of whom continue to serve rural communities. The program is based at the Institute’s Kingston Family Health Center, one of six Institute centers in the region that offer primary medical care and other health services to area residents, regardless of their ability to pay. Residents also train at The Kingston Hospital and several other Mid-Hudson health care facilities. For the Teaching Health Centers program, the Institute will add resident training opportunities at its New Paltz and Ellenville Family Health Centers, as well as the Ellenville Regional Hospital, a rural critical access hospital.

Steve Kelley, President and CEO of Ellenville Regional, was delighted by the news. “Recruiting doctors to our rural community is one of our biggest challenges. Having residents will help staff our hospital, and help recruit new doctors to our community.  It will also help us retain physicians who will enjoy the benefits of participating in a teaching program.”