March 16th is a notable day in the medical field. Match Day, as it is referred to, is when medical students get matched with a hospital for their residencies. So it is only fitting that St. Rita's-Mercy Health announce the expansion of their graduate medical education program. The expansion includes adding four new residencies to the previous two already established.
"With that will come family medicine, internal medicine and emergency medicine as well as general surgery," said Bob Baxter, president and CEO of Mercy Health. "The importance to that, to the community as well as to us is that it’s increasingly difficult. There’s a shortage of physicians, everyone knows and that shortage is most acute in the rural area."
"Most medical schools have tremendously increased the size of their medical school classes over the past ten years," said Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Kevin Casey. "There hasn’t been that same increase in the size of residency. So there’s a tremendous need for residencies out there and it was a matter of the right timing."
With the four new residencies, it will bring increased care and attract physicians in those specialized areas. The hospital’s hope is to add residents to these programs by the end of 2020 and they have a goal of having 90 residents by 2025.
It’s a hope for Casey that the new residencies will attract more physicians who grew up in the area, but left for school and can now return home to work; People like Dr. Christopher Stuke who is a second-year podiatric medicine resident.
"It’s been an amazing experience," Stuke said. "I kind of grew up in the Lima area. Its a rural area so it can be hard to recruit doctors back to this area, but I like coming back to my hometown area, taking care of the people I grew up with. A lot of them I kind of know by face. Just getting to help them out and make a difference in their lives means a lot to me."
With the new residencies attracting more physicians, that means they’ll bring families. These families will bring an economic boost to the Lima region whether it be shopping, dining or getting involved in community engagement.