On May 23, 2013, HMS received notice that, after a two-year application process, it has become the first Teaching Health Center in New Mexico wherein HMS will welcome its first class of Family Medicine Residents for rural graduate medical education training in Silver City. This award is a three-year accreditation from the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). This innovative training model allows family medicine residents to leave the urban academic environment and experience a robust immersion in medical training in a rural community.
“This award is the culmination of a vision the HMS Board of Directors had several years ago and is a crowning achievement in their desire to develop a local healthcare workforce,” said HMS CEO Forrest Olson. The program has been developed in partnership with the University of New Mexico (UNM), Gila Regional Medical Center and a committed roster of community physicians.
Program Director and HMS Chief Medical Officer Darrick Nelson related that “Our residency program will allow HMS to host two residents per academic year for a total of six residents when the program is at full capacity. The residents will reside in Albuquerque for their first year of training and work at UNM Hospital in order to access rotations such as high volume emergency room, neonatal intensive care, specific surgeries, etc., basically those types of experiences that are not available in high volume in rural, southwest New Mexico. The residents will spend their second and third years working within the HMS system as well as with other local physicians and Gila Regional Medical Center.”
Olson stated that “it would have been impossible to have successfully developed this program without partnerships with GRMC and the local provider community.” He also recognized the tireless efforts of Nelson and Tamera Ahner, the HMS-CHI Workforce Manager, who were the main driving factors behind the development of the residency program.
HMS Board Chair Bill Rogers thanked the community and the HMS staff for carrying out the Board’s vision. “Long ago, along with former HMS CEO and current HMS-CHI Executive Director, Charlie Alfero, we saw a tremendous physician shortage looming nationwide and of course that situation would be exacerbated in rural America. This program will expose a new generation of future family physicians to what a great place southwest New Mexico is to live and work in; and hopefully many of them will want to practice here or in other rural areas.”
HMS will host its first two residents at the Silver City Community Health Center starting on July 1, 2013. “We were fortunate to have a first-year Family Medicine resident from UNM’s Albuquerque campus express a strong desire to move his family to Silver City to complete his training with HMS,” Nelson said. The second resident candidate is another second-year resident with plans to move his family to Silver City as well.