by Terry Rogers
On National Doctor’s Day, Terry Murphy, CEO of Bayhealth, announced that, starting in 2021, all Bayhealth campuses will become teaching hospitals. Partnering with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), Bayhealth will provide residency programs for doctors who have recently graduated from medical school, known as Gradaute Medical Education (GME) with the goal of bringing more doctors to the area, enhance the culture of learning at Bayhealth and foster improvements to patient care and the patient experience.
“This is an exciting day for our hospital and more importantly, our community,” Murphy said. “We are at a point of severe shortage of physicians. Over the years, we have added multiple services but we need to take this to the next level. To grow, hospitals need to teach and we will now be able to do that.”
Over the past year, Dr. Assar Rather, Bayhealth Surgeon and GME Chair, along with Dr. Gary Siegelman, Senior Vice-President, Chief Medical Officer and GME Designated Institutional Official, worked with more than 20 physicians to establish the program. The group created a draft assessment and full implementation plan with a proposed start date of July 2021. Initially, individuals who are interested in family or internal medicine will be able to apply for the residencies followed by general surgery and emergency medicine to be added at a later time.
The GME is not the only educational program that will be added to Bayhealth campuses. The organization is also partnering with area medical schools to host medical students for a portion of their Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) clinical rotations. Once those students graduate from medical school, they may apply for a residency program at Bayhealth.
“One of the most important ways that this will benefit the community is that it will provide young physicians trained in family medicine which are sorely needed in the area,” Siegelman said. “In Delaware, it is estimated that there is a shortage of at least 100 doctors. People tell us they call and have a difficult time getting an appointment. This helps teach new doctors who will more than likely remain in the community after they finish their residency.”
Murphy explained that medical school enrollment has increased by 30 percent over the past few years but there are not enough residencies available to cover the increase in enrollment. Rather pointed out that every physician in the room could point to someone during their residency who mentored and guided them.
“We all had mentors and role models and the best way to pay them back is to be mentors ourselves,” Rather said. “Being a teacher is an integral part of being a doctor. This program will be a launching pad for students to go out and gain additional knowledge with many coming back as specialists. There is a need for doctors all over and Delaware is no exception. This is truly something our community deserves.”
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