Since the Chamber of Commerce and Manatee County collaborated 10 years ago on the shortage of physicians in our community, the number of medical residents working in area clinics and hospitals has grown by more than 150 percent. And that number is expected to grow even more over the next four years.
The increasing presence and importance of Manatee Memorial’s medical students and residents in clinics and hospitals that serve the community — especially people with low incomes or without insurance — is just one finding of the young partnership formed by the county, health department and Manatee Memorial (UHS). It is already improving health and increasing access for those who need it the most.
Already, the partnership is resulting in:
▪ More community physicians. Through Manatee Memorial’s graduate medical education program, the number of medical residents providing care in Manatee County and hospitals grew from seven in 2014 to 45 today; it is projected to grow past 60 by 2020. (A medical resident is a physician who provides care under the supervision of a Manatee Memorial faculty member.)
▪ Medical residents caring for grassroots ideas driving better health. Manatee Memorial’s residency program collected nearly 100 ideas from the community and medical staff for addressing serious health priorities; many of those ideas are now being developed by the Department of Health and the hospital’s medical committees to reduce the incidence of cancer and infection in highly focused areas of Manatee County.
▪ Disease treatment and research. Over the course of the last five years, Manatee Memorial recruited academic and teaching leaders specializing in internal medicine, family practice, cardiology, surgery and neurology — all areas of need in Manatee County. These individuals will help further Manatee Memorial’s mission and improve the health of the community.
“Our community’s health care study revealed the opportunity for medical residency programs to address physician recruitment and retention locally,” said Jacki Dezelski, president and CEO of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. “Having medical residents in our community brings new doctors with the very latest medical education to serve our population – doctors who benefit tremendously by learning from top-notch, local physicians with long-established medical practices. This work is all about taking an entire health care system to a higher level. As the residency program continues through its start-up phase, Manatee Memorial has invested in a partnership with the goal of creating and sustaining a community-focused, patient-centered residency program of which our community can be proud.”
Dr. Cathy Cooper; the first Designated Institutional Officer of the Manatee Memorial Residency Program and a member of the hospital’s Board of Trustees, anticipates strong results.
“This community’s support on developing a residency program at Manatee Memorial really was visionary,” she said. “It’s exciting to see that vision becoming a reality, and it’s thrilling that so many people across our community are part of that process. With the community changing its approach to health and health care, we believe we’re already on the way to making Manatee County a model healthy example. And as we progress, we can be a model for how other communities approach health.”
Three shining examples in our community are Dr. Lisa Shannon (Family Practice), Dr. Billy Evans, (Internal Medicine) and Dr. Bijal Patel (Family Practice); all were part of the inaugural class of 2011. They are now integral parts of the current program as well as community physicians with local practice, and have established solid patient bases and remained involved in the residency program.
Dr. Shannon is part of the core faculty with the family practice residency program at Manatee Memorial, which has developed more than 75 family practice physicians in the past six years and has had a 100 percent pass rate on the national board exam. Dr. Shannon currently has her office at 5225 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton; she joined Dr. Ron Grubb, the director of our family medicine program, and sees patients from newborns to adults.
Dr. Evans took a different route. After completing his internal residency program at Manatee Memorial, he decided to pursue a fellowship in critical care/ pulmonary medicine — that’s an additional three years of training on top of his three years of Internal Medicine and four years of medical school. After completing his training at the University of South Florida, he has joined the staff at Manatee Memorial and joined the practice of Dr. John Peters and Dr. Mary Jane Liebling at 2104 Manatee Ave. Their practice specializes in diseases of the lungs and managing critically ill patients at Manatee Memorial.
Dr. Patel joined Cooper Family Medical at 5123 4th Ave. Circle E. in Bradenton, is board-certified in family practice and in osteopathic manipulation.
The program’s focus on medical residents is not only putting more providers into the community — it’s helping them become better physicians, better mothers and fathers, better leaders in our community with an emphasis on making Manatee County a better place to live work and play. As the current chairman of the Board of the Manatee Chamber, it is exciting to see such progress in our community and such buy-in from so many who truly care about our health, our county and citizens of our community.
Kevin DiLallo, CEO of Manatee Healthcare System, has been a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives for over 25 years and has a passion for providing health care to his community. Email him at Kevin.DiLallo@uhsinc.com