St. Mary Awarded $1.9 Million Federal Grant to Expand Primary Care Residency Program

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grant-money-250x250St. Mary Medical Center is the recipient of a $1.92 million Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant to expand the hospital’s Internal Medicine Residency Program, from 32 to 38 residents. The agency awarded hospitals, clinics and community colleges throughout California with more than $32.2 million to create opportunities for training which will result in additional healthcare jobs and place more emphasis on primary and preventative care delivery. Out of the seven medical centers that received funds in California, St. Mary and Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles are the only two facilities who are not part of the University of California system, which received a large portion of the grants, nearly $14 million. Additionally, St. Mary’s Internal Medicine Residency Program is the only medical center to receive a Primary Residency Expansion grant. Funding will be issued over a five year period.

St. Mary’s Internal Medicine Residency Program is affiliated with the UCLA School of Medicine and offers the very best of academic medicine in a community setting. The grant will support expansion of the residency program through the primary care track. Two residents per year for each of the first three years of funding will be added and it will allow maintenance of the additional residents for the remainder of their training. This will strengthen the program’s primary care emphasis and eventually provide primary care physicians for the future, as health care reform continues to rollout.

The Health Care Reform Act calls for implementation of a patient-centered medical home model of care that is offered by primary care providers. However, there is widespread concern that there will be a severe shortage of primary care physicians to meet the need created by new federal reforms.

Vice President of Campaigns at St. Mary, Drew Gagner stated, “We’re very pleased. It’s a program the community both needs and deserves. If we can give residents the right kind of experience in their training, perhaps we can convince more to stay.”

Dr. Chester Choi, who currently serves as the hospital’s Medical Education Residency Director and who has done so for the past 11 years, will serve as Project Director. During his tenure Dr. Choi expanded the residency program by two residents and increased the number of Chief Residents to four. These Chief Residents have completed their Internal Medicine training and remain at St. Mary to support teaching and administrative functions associated with the additional resident slots.

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