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story.lead_photo.caption The Sentinel-Record/File photo - CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs President Dr. Doug Ross - Photo by The Sentinel-Record/File photo

CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs and the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Smith have partnered on a new medical education residency program.

Twenty-one medical students from ARCOM will become the hospital's first Graduate Medical Education residents in a new program to train the future physicians of southwest Arkansas, a news release said.

The new medical education residency program is the product of a partnership announced in 2018 and will transform primary care in the region in a way that promotes overall health and quality of life, as well as help mitigate an anticipated shortage of health care professionals available to serve the state's southwestern communities, the release said.

"We're excited to welcome these bright minds and dedicated medical students to the Hot Springs community to share our mission of providing compassionate care throughout our region," CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs President Dr. Doug Ross said in the release. "We know these residents and our partners at ARCOM share that mission and this is an important moment for the future of Southwest Arkansas and the work to alleviate the health disparities that impact our communities."

The 21 medical students will spend the next two years participating in the residency program, learning from CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs' health care professionals and providing expert care for members of the community, the release said.

The creation of the residency program also offers the dual benefit of making it easier for ARCOM to recruit and retain highly qualified medical students attracted to roles in primary care and community-focused health care.

"These students, with their emphasis on patient-centered care and focus on service to the underserved, will find a gracious and welcoming community here in Southwest Arkansas," Dr. John Wayne Smith, director of the residency program at CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs, said in the release. "The expertise and skills they are developing are also much needed here and in our surrounding communities where we know regular access to a primary care provider correlates highly with better health outcomes for patients."

Smith told The Sentinel-Record one of the ultimate goals of the program is to encourage these students to remain in Hot Springs to serve the community.

"We hope they can find physicians in our community that they want to emulate," he said. "We can teach them the knowledge and the skills, but we also want to teach them the compassionate side. We want them to ultimately become physicians you or I want caring for us. We want them to learn what it means to go that extra mile of compassion that it takes in making a diagnosis, in caring for their patients.

"We also feel like here they can learn more about the community and what challenges patients face on a daily basis. We hope by being here, they begin to learn the stumbling blocks people face. By being more invested in the community, the more likely they are to stay here."

The partnership between CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs and ARCOM will continue to grow with plans to host two residency programs by 2021 in both Family Practice and Internal Medicine. The programs are part of a broader effort to address an anticipated shortage of physicians nationwide by 2030, particularly those focused on primary care.

CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs also has similar partnerships with nursing programs at Henderson State University and National Park College as the hospital works to build healthier communities in southwest Arkansas.

Local on 07/23/2019

Print Headline: CHI, ARCOM partner on new med residency program

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