Marking the close of orientation week, 36 residents in FAU’s first residency program in internal medicine were welcomed to the community at a special reception in FAU’s stadium on June 26. These residents were selected from a pool of 3,900 highly qualified medical school graduates from across Florida and the nation. The composition of FAU’s inaugural class has 39 percent with roots in Florida. Residents have come to FAU from the University of Miami, Florida International University, and the University of Central Florida, as well as medical schools across the nation including Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Rochester, Tulane, University of Southern California, Nebraska, Kansas, Kentucky, Wright State, and others. Three hold both an M.D. and Ph.D. as their step toward academic medicine careers at FAU.
“It marks a true coming of age of our medical education program,” said John W. Kelly, Ph.D., President of Florida Atlantic University.
I’d like to thank all of the people and institutions who have played a part in bringing us to this day, including the Florida Legislature, the Board of Governors, the Quantum Foundation, our hospital partners, and especially Dick and Barbara Schmidt and the Schmidt Family Foundation.”
The internal medicine residency will bring a total of 96 physicians to FAU, with the first class of 36 residents who started this July. Residents are working at three participating hospitals — Boca Raton Regional Hospital, the primary site for the internal medicine residency program, and Bethesda Hospital East and Delray Medical Center. This residency, the first for the cities of Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and Delray Beach, marks an important milestone in bringing additional trained physicians into these communities and is FAU’s first university-sponsored graduate medical education program. Furthermore, this residency program will provide the opportunity for FAU medical school graduates in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine to continue their post-medical school training in Palm Beach County. FAU’s inaugural class of medical students will receive their M.D.s in April 2015.
Developing additional residency program positions is essential to the future of Florida’s health care system. Florida currently has 18.8 resident physicians per 100,000 population, ranking 42nd among the 50 states. Because of the strong link between where physicians complete residency training and where they subsequently establish practice, it is highly likely that a majority of the FAU medical education program graduates who complete residency programs in Southeast Florida will either remain in Southeast Florida to practice or practice somewhere in Florida.
“Having additional residency programs in Palm Beach County will create a stronger and enhanced healthcare delivery system for us all,” said Bernardo Obeso, M.D., internal medicine residency program director in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. “About 50 percent of doctors choose to practice within 20 miles of where they complete their residency program. Our hope is to infuse in our county young, well- trained internists to serve our cities.”
In fall 2011, the FAU Consortium for Graduate Medical Education (GME) was formed in partnership with FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Bethesda Healthcare, and Tenet HealthCare system’s Delray Medical Center, St. Mary’s Medical Center and West Boca Medical Center to establish residency programs in specialties that would serve their communities, starting with internal medicine.