South Florida Hospital News
Sunday October 25, 2020

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August 2008 - Volume 5 - Issue 2


New Residency Program Opens in Palm Beach County

Palm Beach County is bursting with excitement—and for good reason: A new residency program for internal medicine opened July 1 at JFK Medical Center and the West Palm Beach VA. It is sponsored by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, and is based at two sites—JFK and the West Palm Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center. And the results of the program will have both far-reaching and long-term effects.

According to Nicole Baxter, Director of Marketing for JFK Medical Center, "It's really an exciting thing for Palm Beach County because they've been projecting a physician shortage, particularly in internal medicine, in our county. And by developing this residency program, it will ensure a steady supply of physicians in our area."

This inaugural class has 49 residents, out of more than 1000 applicants; yet Baxter wasn't surprised at the interest despite the newness of the program. "No, I think JFK Medical Center and the University of Miami and FAU, as well as the VA, all have very strong reputations, and I think the program director and the faculty have really created an environment that students want to be a part of and have that credential behind their name." Charles Posternack is the Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program and Chief Medical Officer at JFK Medical Center.

The residents will study the most innovative and progressive curriculum, and learn the human side of patient care as well. As Robert Chait, Associate Director of the Residency Program, commented, "Our program will prepare residents to become the internists of the 21st century. They are learning not only the science of medicine, but also ways to interact with patients and the value of teamwork." He added that the program is being built to encompass other medical specialties, such as surgical residency, in the future.

Baxter said a new allopathic residency program hasn't been established in the United States in the past 20 years, and believes one reason is because of the extensive process involved. She acknowledged that opening the application process for a new program "is very comprehensive as far as having the required funding and components in order to support an academic residency."

She said JFK submitted its application 3-1/2 years ago, "so it is a lengthy process. It is an ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) accredited residency program, which means there are very stringent regulations. So we had to go through a very rigorous application process to make sure we had all of the resources. For example, we had to re-do all of our conference rooms to make sure we had videoconferencing. It took a lot of resources, a lot of preparation to get everything ready for that July 1 start date." Baxter explained that the videoconferencing is important because the residents have a 12:00 conference every day to learn current medical knowledge, care and practice. "(Recently) they were all sitting in a room and going over latest protocol and clinical trials. It's amazing the questions they ask. They're so up to date."

Baxter said studies show that approximately 50 percent of the residents in a program stay in the area in which they were trained to practice medicine. "I think that's one of the main reasons the community is so excited about it. It will bring the physicians (here), and it keeps everyone on the cutting edge of medicine. All of our physicians—and we have more than 500 physicians at JFK Medical Center—are so excited about the program.

"You can just feel the excitement within the facility by having these 49 residents practicing medicine. It really brings health care in Palm Beach County to a new level."

Pascal J. Goldschmidt, Senior Vice President and Dean of the Miller School of Medicine and CEO of University of Miami Health System, added, "South Florida and Palm Beach County in particular will become a medical destination. No longer will people have to jump on a plane to access care somewhere else, because now the best medicine will be right in their backyard."

The program is currently accepting applications for next year.

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