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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 health care 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.
“Medical school training is rather generic and the majority of the coursework is common to all students,” said Dr. Samuel McQuiston, assistant dean of graduate medical education and associate professor of radiology at the USA College of Medicine. “Graduate medical education training is a process of learning by doing. Residency programs provide dedicated training in a medical specialty, while fellowship programs provide advanced training in medical subspecialties.”
Dr. Elijah Fox, a first-year pediatric resident from Grand Bay, Ala., recently began his residency training at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital. “I am excited to begin working in the ER,” he said. “I love doing procedures, and I enjoy hands-on learning.”
Dr. Fox, who earned his medical degree from the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine in Dothan, Ala., said he chose to specialize in pediatrics because he never wanted to lose empathy for his patients. “Children do not choose what families they are born into or what conditions they are born with,” he said. “I want to do my best to help give them their best foot forward as they grow up.”
Currently, there are 247 residents and fellows training within USA Health. Of these, 74 began their first year of training this month. “The mission of our programs is to develop the clinical competency, medical knowledge, and professional attributes of physicians, to promote the safe and effective care for patients and to advance the art of healing through quality improvement and medical research,” Dr. McQuiston said.
With a long history of training physicians, USA Health provides training in 18 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, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute and the USA Physicians Group practice.
With 247 housestaff, the USA GME training programs are mid-size programs when compared to other institutions. This year, USA recruited its new residents and fellows from 36 different medical schools – with the largest representation coming from USA. “While USA is always our largest source for new residents, new residents historically tend to hale from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Louisiana State University, William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Miss., and Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla.,” Dr. McQuiston said. “Other top contributing schools include the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine in Dothan, Ala., the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in Little Rock, Ark., and the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky.”
Dr. McQuiston said USA Health also plays a critical role in supplying competent physicians for Mobile and the adjoining region. “Many physicians in Mobile and along the Gulf Coast have trained at USA,” he said. “More than 40 percent of our graduates practice in the state of Alabama and 20 percent practice in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and along the Interstate-10 corridor.
Learn more about GME training programs at USA here.
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