ST. LOUIS -- Saint Louis University has received a three-year, $558,000 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health to prepare residents in family medicine to care for patients in the St. Louis area. Four first-year residents and one second-year resident will participate in the three-year post graduate training program this year, which kicked off on July 1.
|Christine Jacobs, M.D.|
Residents and their supervising physicians will see patients at the Family Care Health Center in the Holly Hills neighborhood in St. Louis City. The residency's hospital partner for inpatient training is SSM St. Mary's Health Center.
According to Christine Jacobs, M.D., director of the program, this residency will fill a void in the city where there has not been a family medicine residency since Forest Park Hospital ended its residency program four years ago and ultimately shut its doors.
"There is a nationwide shortage of primary care doctors, a shortage that is greatest in inner cities and rural areas. Besides training great family physicians, one of our goals for this program is to improve access to health care in the St. Louis area. We are teaching residents to manage the unique challenges of caring for underserved patients," said Jacobs, who is an associate professor of family and community medicine at Saint Louis University.
"The patient population in St. Louis City is ethnically diverse and many patients have significant health issues," Jacobs said. Residents will learn how to manage these health issues while taking into consideration their patients' social and cultural background.
The residency program is supported by Saint Louis University and SSM St. Mary's Health Center. The Missouri Foundation for Health grant will provide additional support to offset the cost generated by training residents in a federally-funded community health center.
Once the program is at full capacity in July 2013, four family physicians will graduate from the program each year.
"Studies have shown that the most effective way of retaining primary care physicians in underserved areas is to train residents in community health centers. We have a great group of residents who are excited to be working at Family Care Health Center, Saint Louis University, and SSM St. Mary's Health Center. We hope they will incorporate their training experiences and a commitment to caring for underserved patients into their careers," Jacobs said.
Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, infectious disease, liver disease, aging and brain disease and heart/lung disease.