July 22, 2022
With an increased need for primary care physicians and psychiatrists, especially in rural areas, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital recently hosted a visit from Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University to finalize details of a innovative residency program designed to strengthen the healthcare workforce of tomorrow.As part of a global partnership with Hartford HealthCare, the CHH will participate in the Behavioral Health Network rural psychiatry training program and a rural family medicine training program. “There is such a demand for psychiatry and primary care,” said John Capobianco, senior vice president, Northwest Region. He explained that primary care physicians are an aging population, with 50% of physicians aged 57 or older. There is a national and regional shortage of primary care physicians. “It’s such a great opportunity to bring new people into the career path and expose them to a rural family medicine program,” Capobianco said. The program will be based on Saint Vincent Medical Center, which is Quinnipiac’s primary teaching subsidiary and serves as an urban training site. They expect to welcome the first residents in July 2024. “It also exposes our physicians and clinical staff to students, it’s a game-changer of having medical students and provides the opportunity to continue research in community settings” , said Capobianco. “Additionally, it exposes students to a community hospital with potential for future recruitment.” “Having residents and students on our campus makes everyone’s game better. It helps providers stay up to date on current practice changes and ultimately improves the quality of care we provide to the community,” said Paul Scalise, MD, vice president of medical affairs. The third hospital involved in the program is Northern Maine Medical Center, but it will not offer psychiatry residency there. The Psychiatry Residency Program is developed by Remy Sirken, MD, with the rest of the SVMC department, overseen by Andre Newfield, MD, chair of psychiatry at the SVMC. Dr. Sirken, an alumnus of the HHC residency program, has focused on curriculum development, engaging with future faculty members, and working on the applications necessary for formal accreditation . The residency program is part of a concerted effort to bring specialized mental health care closer to patients’ homes and reduce the national shortage of psychiatrists. The four-year residency program, which will be one of only three in the state, will be open to four new medical school graduates, enrolling four each year for an eventual total of 16 residents. Charlotte Hungerford Hospital will be the program’s primary training site and where residents will work in an outpatient psychiatric setting during their third and fourth years of training. During the first and second years of the program, residents will receive training in inpatient, emergency, and outpatient psychiatry, as well as neurology, at SVMC. Capobianco said he was also excited about the training opportunities in psychiatry. “We have inpatient, outpatient, partial inpatient programs, addiction services, a diverse population with ages ranging from children to adults, this provides a great opportunity to be exposed to rural psychiatric care to all levels, we have a strong program,” he said. These clinical opportunities will provide a critical pool of potential new colleagues during a very difficult time for recruitment. The Netter School of Medicine currently sponsors an internal medicine and radiology residency program based at SVMC.