OWENSBORO, Ky. – Owensboro Health and the University of Louisville School of Medicine are partnering to create Owensboro’s first family medicine residency program. The program will be located at Owensboro Health’s Parrish Medical Building and is scheduled to open on July 1, 2020.
“By establishing a family residency program in Owensboro, we hope to improve the health of our region for years to come,” said Greg Strahan, president and CEO of Owensboro Health. “This program gives Owensboro Health a pivotal role in educating the next generation of physicians and will help meet an important need for more primary care in our area.”
The three-year program is expected to open with a class of six resident physicians and admit an additional six physicians each year. Residents will undertake a robust curriculum of classroom studies and clinical rotations, working alongside expert instructors and practicing physicians from a variety of specialties. They also will provide primary care at Owensboro Health’s family medicine location on Parrish Avenue, which means expanded health care access for area patients.
“Part of our vision for this program is that some physicians will want to continue practicing in Western Kentucky after they have completed their residency,” said Steve Johnson, vice president of government and community affairs for Owensboro Health. “For our system to be working toward that vision, with a valuable partner like UofL, is an exciting development for this region.”
The agreement between the two health care systems establishes UofL School of Medicine as the program’s academic sponsor, a key step toward obtaining approval and accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Under the affiliation agreement, UofL will provide a program director and faculty and also lend its expertise to help the program achieve and maintain accreditation.
“UofL has achieved success with its family medicine residency program in Glasgow, Ky., in terms of building relationships in the community and improving primary care,” said Brent Wright, M.D., UofL School of Medicine associate dean for rural health innovation, and vice chair for rural health and professor in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine at UofL. “We plan to achieve the same success in Owensboro.”
Rural-based graduate medical education programs are important to physician distribution since physicians tend to practice within a 100-mile radius of where they did their residency training, Wright said.
The establishment of the residency program is also another positive step in the redevelopment of the Parrish Avenue campus, which was home to Owensboro Health Regional Hospital until 2013, when the system opened a new hospital on Owensboro’s east side. Since then, Owensboro Health has remodeled the Parrish campus, keeping or expanding key services including outpatient cancer treatment, family medicine and several specialty clinics.
“The residency program helps fulfill the promise we made to the community: that the Parrish campus would continue to provide access to care, support the regional economy and become an educational facility,” Strahan said. “We are especially grateful for the efforts of State Sen. Joe Bowen, who helped the project gain support in the Kentucky legislature. Now these dreams are becoming reality.”