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The Institute Graduates 26 Family Physicians to Care for Underserved Communities

The Institute Graduates 26 Family Physicians to Care for Underserved Communities

New York, NY (July 7, 2015) –The Institute for Family Health is graduating 26 family physicians from its three family medicine residency programs this year, including the inaugural class of its Harlem Residency in Family Medicine, launched in 2012.  All 26 of the graduates trained primarily in Institute-operated community health centers during their three-year residency, as well as in school-based health centers, community organizations, and with the Institute’s hospital partners, Mount Sinai in Manhattan and the Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley in Kingston, NY. Although health care analysts have documented a growing shortage of primary care providers in New York State and throughout the country, the majority of medical school graduates still go on to train in hospital-based residency programs, whose graduates overwhelmingly choose sub-specialty practice over primary care.

“Health center-based residency programs like the Institute’s are a proven strategy to drive more highly- talented and socially committed medical school graduates towards careers in primary care,” said Dr. Neil Calman, the Institute’s president & CEO and an architect of its graduate medical education programs. “This is exactly the kind of workforce development program that will fuel New York State Medicaid’s DSRIP program, Medicare’s growing ACO program, and other large-scale efforts to transform the U.S. health care system.  We hope to develop additional family medicine residencies over the next five years to meet the increased demand for primary care providers in New York State.”

This year, the Institute’s Mid-Hudson Family Medicine Residency in Kingston graduated 10 physicians; its Mount Sinai Beth Israel Residency in Urban Family Medicine graduated eight physicians; and its Harlem Residency in Family Medicine is graduating eight physicians. Both the Harlem and Mid-Hudson residency programs are financed in part through federal “Teaching Health Centers” grant funding. The Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program was launched in 2011 to provide dedicated funding to health center-based residency programs that exclusively train primary care providers. The Institute was one of the first recipients of these funds, and Dr. Calman went on to co-found and lead the American Association of Teaching Health Centers (AATHC) as its president.  The AATHC is a non-profit trade group representing the 60 Teaching Health Centers programs across the country.

Despite the Teaching Health Center program’s popularity and success, Congress refunded the program at a reduced per resident amount. “Each program has been receiving $150,000 in funding per resident, and now we’re getting just $95,000 per,” said Dr. Red Schiller, a senior vice president at the Institute and its chair of graduate medical education. “Health centers operate on such slim margins as it is — it’s not funding we can easily make up. These programs provide a pipeline for exactly the kinds of physicians we need in the U.S. The Institute is working hard to maintain the number of residents we train, but without steady and reliable funding, it will become difficult to do that. We are continuing to work closely with Congress and the Administration to restore full funding to the program.”