The Anne Arundel County Medical Center is planning to expand its teaching capabilities by offering residencies to medical school graduates.
Starting in June 2017, the Annapolis hospital will train future doctors through a Graduate Medical Education program, President and CEO Victoria Bayless told the Capital Gazette editorial board Thursday.
AAMC, Maryland's third busiest hospital, will offer residencies in three areas: General surgery, internal medicine and family practice. Other specialty programs are expected to be created in the future, Bayless said.
The state is home to two well-known academic-based medical schools: Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland.
At least two other non-academic institutions in the area offer graduate education programs in medicine. Holy Cross Health in Montgomery County offers residencies in pharmacy and nursing. Franklin Square Medical Center, which is part of the MedStar system, offers residencies in internal medicine, family medicine and gynecology in Baltimore County.
Anne Arundel hospital officials right now are working on developing curriculum that could include up to 20 staff serving as faculty. At least six general surgeons are slated work in the general surgical training program. That program was approved Oct. 26 by national medical boards.
Adrian Park, the chairman of the department of surgery, said the graduate program would advance the care offered to patients.
"This gives us an opportunity to train surgeons in a patient-centric, team-based care environment," Park said in a statement.
The hospital has not determined how many medical students will enter the program, but Bayless said they expect up to five in the first year.
Bayless said with all the services AAMC has to offer and how busy it is, the teaching program was a logical addition.
"We should be able to be part of training future generations of physicians," Bayless said. "We're in the throes of it now."
Gene Ransom, CEO of MedChi, Maryland's State Medical Society, praised AAMC's efforts.
Ransom said the residencies will help fill a need for physicians — a trend seen around the country.
In 2008, the state had 178 doctors delivering care for every 100,000 residents was well below the national average of 212 doctors for the same amount of people, according to a study by the Maryland Hospital Association and MedChi that year.
The greatest shortages were found in rural areas and in specialties such as primary care and emergency medicine.
A residency location in Annapolis could help fill a need for physicians in southern Maryland, Ransom said.
That need will only grow as the population receiving health insurance through Medicaid programs expands, Ransom said.
Offering a medical residency program in Anne Arundel County will also help usher in a new generation of physicians.
"The more folks that we can train here in Maryland the more likely that physician is going to stay here," Ransom said.