CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSEN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8032; fax (319) 335-8034
Pella selected as site for UI medical college's Rural Track Residency
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Pella has been selected as the site of the University
of Iowa College of Medicine's Rural Track Family Practice Residency Program,
an initiative that will help train physicians interested in practicing
in rural communities.
Pella was chosen from among a half dozen select sites across Iowa to
serve as a base for the program. The effort will involve collaboration
between Pella Regional Health Center (PRHC), the UI department of family
medicine and local physicians, led by Dr. Larry Severidt, a family physician
in Pella who will serve as the local residency coordinator.
"The health center board is pleased with the UI's selection of
Pella," said Paul Hietbrink, chairman of the board of trustees at
PRHC. "Our medical staff enjoys teaching students and residents. The
constant presence of medical education at our center will help us maintain
high standards of care that will ultimately benefit our patients."
The program first must be accredited by a national review committee
before it can get under way. The program's sponsors have begun that process.
"Once approved, this small training program could serve as a model
for the development of similar programs elsewhere in rural Iowa,"
said Dr. Gerald Jogerst, UI assistant professor and interim head of family
medicine. "For other rural sites, the hub might be our department's
residency or any one of the college's seven affiliated family practice
residencies across Iowa."
Medical residencies are advanced training programs that typically follow
medical school graduation. Under this new program, which could begin in
2000 or sooner, two medical school graduates will spend their first year
of training at the UI and the next two years in Pella. As family practice
residents they will see patients and work closely with Severidt at his
family practice office in Pella. They also will receive training and educational
support at the PRHC from other local physicians and from specialists--such
as cardiologists, oncologists and orthopaedic surgeons--who come to Pella
regularly to see patients in the hospital's outpatient clinics.
"The training the residents in Pella will receive can be described
as a longitudinal experience," said Dr. Robert Garrett, UI associate
clinical professor of family practice and program director of the UI Family
Practice Residency, who helped develop the Pella residency curriculum.
"Typically, family practice residents go through specific, one- and
two-month clinical rotations as part of their training. With this program,
however, residents will work with family physicians and specialists on
a continuous basis over the last two years of their residencies."
In other words, residents will train continuously in a mode much like
the practice they will have once their residencies are completed.
"Hospitals in smaller, rural communities do not have as many resources
as some medical centers in larger, urban areas, so one of the keys to this
program will be to teach residents how to effectively use the resources
of a rural community health system," Severidt said. "Resident
physicians also will gain an understanding of the special health care needs
of a rural community. In addition to the standard clinical education a
family physician receives, rural track training will emphasize geriatrics,
agricultural and occupational medicine, and preventive care. We hope to
give the family practice residents an experience that is especially relevant
to rural practice."