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LMHS Residency Program: August 18, 2011

“We need primary care physicians. Florida is actually exporting physicians today. We need them to stay in our community,” says Richard Akin, Chairman of the Board for Lee Memorial Health System.

With that, Lee Memorial Health System cemented a major league partnership, teaming with Florida State University College of Medicine to bring a residency program to Southwest Florida.

“This is the beginning of a whole new change for Lee County in terms of us having the opportunity to have residents come here to begin their training program and establish a family practice residency within Lee County,” says Dr. Scott Nygaard, Chief Medical Officer for Lee Memorial Health System.

What does that mean to the patient population? Statistically, doctors set up practice within 50 to 75 miles from where they trained. So this is the beginning of a recruitment effort to bring and keep fresh doctors.

The first six medical residents will arrive in 2013, they’ll office out of Lee Memorial Hospital and train as primary care physicians.

The FSU program was tailor made for Lee County.  “It really is one of our focus right in our mission statement is we’re supposed to create the kind of doctors that Florida needs, particularly those that will serve in rural, underserved, and the aging communities,” says Dr. John Fogarty Dean of the FSU College of Medicine.

Residents will be supervised by fully certified doctors, and as family practitioners will tend to a wide variety of medical needs. Because they’re training, they will spend more time with each patient.

“That is a really benefit to the older patients, is having someone who is sitting in a room, listening to them and aren’t on this tight schedule of I’ve got to hurry up and go to the next patient there,” says Dr. Alma Littles with the FSU College of Medicine.

Turning the tide from exporting doctors to growing them at home.