Mercy Fort Smith will welcome its first internal medicine and family medicine residents this summer.
The new residency programs, the result of a collaboration with the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education, are set to begin July 1. A $1.3 million donation from ACHE and the Degen Foundation is funding the programs, designed to help retain doctors in the River Valley while boosting the hospital’s staffing.
The Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine is the sponsoring institution, and the programs have received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
"With the significant physician shortage in our community, a new graduate medical program will help us to grow our own," said John Sealey, DO, associate dean of clinical medicine at ARCOM, in a news release. "Statistics indicate that 75% of individuals who study and then train in a location will stay in that area. These new physicians tend to be young and at a point where they are planting roots. This gives us at least seven years, with medical school and residency, to recruit them to make Fort Smith their home."
“Mercy's commitment to medical education helps support our ministry and our dedication to providing quality care throughout the community,” Dr. Paul Bean, chief of medical affairs at Mercy Fort Smith, added. "By rotating throughout the specialties we offer at Mercy Fort Smith, residents can experience a varied patient population while they train on state-of-the-art technology and units staffed for specialized care."
Residents will also work in a variety of settings, including inpatient services in the hospitals and outpatient care in the clinics, and rotate to a new specialty every four weeks. Specialties include cardiology, orthopedics, women’s health, surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry and more.
Mercy has been developing the residency programs for several years, and the programs’ first class will graduate in June 2024. It will ultimately see 48 residents if all eight positions are filled within each program every year.
Dr. Delilah Easom will lead the Internal Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Sean Baker will serve as program director for the Family Medicine Residency Program.