CHILLICOTHE — When Adena Health System’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) program began in 2012, there were only six physicians in the entire residency program.
Now, having built the kind of momentum all aspiring educational programs aim to achieve, there are 42 residents across three disciplines – Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. Five of those who have recently graduated or will be graduating in the Class of 2022 in June have signed with the Health System to continue their careers by practicing at Adena.
“There’s definitely a momentum that happens, you have to build it over time,” said Dr. Edward Onusko, who has served as Adena’s Designated Institutional Officer for the residency program and is now transitioning the role to Dr. John DesMarais. “Once you build a reputation that your medical students and residents get a very positive learning and living experience here at Adena, you attract a lot more applicants, many of whom are from our region, and more and more of the graduates of our programs are choosing to stay in the community.”
Medical residents are licensed physicians who, after graduating from medical school, choose to further their training within their specialty and care for patients under the oversight of board-certified physicians for a set number of years. Adena provides that educational opportunity, as well as hosts a group of medical students annually who do their third year of medical school at the Health System.
Those former or graduating residents who will now be practicing full-time at Adena include:
· Dexter Boggs, MD – Internal Medicine
· Clint Christman, DO – Internal Medicine
· Rebecca Ekstrand, DO — Psychiatry
· Sam Nobilucci, DO – Emergency Medicine
· Peter Rinne, DO – Emergency Medicine
Those five will join seven other former GME graduates who are now working full-time at Adena.
Residency program directors and managers take several steps when finding and screening applicants to try and identify those who may be a good fit for a career with the Health System following their residency. For instance, one of the common traits sought is some sort of connection to Ohio or a preference to practice in a rural area. While not a requirement, it may make an applicant more appealing and more likely to stay.
On average, Adena’s residency program now screens between 300 and 400 applications per program annually and, this year, about 20% of applicants were interviewed.
In addition, the Health System actively recruits applicants to spend their third year of medical school at Adena through affiliations with three osteopathic medical schools across the region – Ohio University in Athens, Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee and the University of Pikeville in Kentucky.
With each program located in a rural area, the hope is that once they’ve seen what daily life is like at Adena and once they’ve interacted with Health System residents, they will consider doing their residency at Adena as well. Then, having already spent as many as four years with Adena by the end of their residency, they hopefully will choose to stay with the Health System to practice.
A supportive administration and Board of Trustees, cooperative nursing and other ancillary services across the Health System, and a talented physician corps sharing their experience and knowledge help build the case for graduates to stay long-term. Retaining these “home-grown” doctors further builds on the quality care already delivered by Adena physicians, Advanced Practice Providers and other caregivers to patients and their families across Adena’s nine-county service area.
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