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This month, the University of South Alabama welcomed a new class of resident physicians to the graduate medical education programs based at USA Health.
The first-year residents will focus on advancing basic skills in communication, assessment and management in various healthcare environments. The skills learned during the first year of training vary by their chosen specialty and build on the foundation given to students during their years in medical school.
Dr. Samuel McQuiston, assistant dean of graduate medical education and associate professor of radiology, said GME training is a process of learning by doing. “As residents and fellows gain experience and demonstrate growth in their ability to care for patients, they assume roles that permit them to exercise those skills with greater independence, allowing for graded and progressive responsibility,” he said.
Currently there are 256 residents and fellows training within USA Health. Of these, 75 began their first year of training this month.
With a long history of training physicians, USA Health provides training in 19 fully ACGME-accredited residency and fellowship programs. Residents and fellows in USA’s training programs are integrated into USA Health with the majority of their training centered at USA Medical Center, USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital and USA Mitchell Cancer Institute and their affiliated outpatient clinics.
“An academic health center provides services that other hospitals do not,” Dr. McQuiston said. “This characteristic is one of the many strengths of the teaching environment for the training programs at USA.”
With 256 housestaff, the USA GME training programs are mid-size programs when compared to other institutions. “This means that we are small enough to allow residents to form a community of peers but large enough to provide diversity in their clinical experiences,” Dr. McQuiston said. “The acute and critical-care aspects of training in the hospitals combine with the various outpatient clinics to provide exposure to the full spectrum of training in our GME programs.”
“In particular, the trauma, stroke and heart centers at USA Medical Center; the evaluation center, the women's imaging center, the maternal-fetal specialists, and the neonatal and pediatric ICUs at USA Children's and Women's Hospital; and the diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute provide incredible experiential opportunities for residents and fellows in numerous specialties,” Dr. McQuiston added.
This year, USA recruited its new residents and fellows from 45 different schools – with the largest representation coming from USA. Other top contributing schools include the University of Oklahoma and the University of Mississippi.
Dr. McQuiston said USA Health plays a critical role in supplying competent physicians for Mobile and the adjoining region. “During the past five years,” he said, “the largest number of our graduates practice in the state of Alabama and in other communities along the Gulf Coast.”
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