Forrest General’s first group of residents completes 3-year residency program
Hattiesburg, Miss. — (June 14, 2017) Forrest General Hospital’s first group of residents have all passed the American Board of Family Medicine’s Family Medicine Certification Examination and will complete the 3-year Family Medicine Residency Program on June 30. Out of this class of five residents, four will remain to practice in the Hattiesburg area.
Kory Blackwell, MD, will serve at Hattiesburg Clinic in Oak Grove; Cody Choate, DO, is going to Hattiesburg Clinic in Columbia; Rasheeda Crowell-Hall, MD, will practice in Prentiss at Forrest Health’s Jefferson Davis Rural Health Clinic; and W. Allen Martin, DO, will begin seeing patients at Hattiesburg Clinic in Bellevue. James Wilkinson, DO, plans to continue his training with the University of Mississippi Medical Center Emergency Medicine Residency.
“It’s an honor to become a part of Hattiesburg’s medical community, particularly in primary care. By the time a patient sees a specialist, something has already gone wrong, and the patient is already struggling with an illness. I think it will feel great to make a difference for my community and patients by providing appropriate preventative care like screenings and blood pressure control,” said Kory Blackwell, MD.
Forrest General Hospital created this residency program in response to the growing number of retiring primary care physicians in the Pine Belt area. The retirement rate coupled with the low number of physicians staying in the state after completing their residencies had resulted in a shortage of family medicine doctors in Mississippi.
According to the Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce (OMPW), 30 percent of all in-state physicians are over the age of 60, and 60 percent of family physicians in Mississippi are over age 50.
“After reviewing the startling data collected by the Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce, it became clear that Mississippi would be facing a serious shortage of physicians in the coming years. A shortage of physicians would mean a sharp decline in access to care in Mississippi particularly for citizens living in rural areas,” said Evan Dillard, Forrest General Hospital president and CEO. “We knew it was time for Forrest General to get involved with bringing more physicians to our state.”
Dillard hopes that at least 50 percent of each group of residents will choose to stay in the Pine Belt area. At that rate, the program will help supply the community with 30 primary care physicians every ten years.
“The relationship between physician and patient is important. Having a regular family medicine physician helps to build that relationship. The patient will have a doctor who not only knows their health history, but also knows that individual as a person. This is what makes being a Forrest General resident special. The program trains physicians in many different areas in the hospital along with having the clinic, which allows the residents to see new and established patients for continuing care,” said Eric Hale, MD, Family Medicine Residency Program director.
Because of its rigorous training and exposure to such a wide range of hospital specialties, the Forrest General Family Medicine Residency Program is highly competitive. To be accepted, applicants must be graduates of accredited United States or Canadian medical schools or colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States, and they must be eligible for a Mississippi medical license.
After all applications have been reviewed, only the best candidates are selected for on-site interviews during which they will be judged based on their aptitudes, academic credentials, personal characteristics, and communication skills. Of those interviewed, Forrest General Hospital chooses only 6 candidates each year to become residents.
“It is fantastic and speaks to the quality of our program that all of the residents in our first group are now board certified. These residents took a leap of faith to come to a new residency hoping that we would offer them a good education. Our standardized training exams show that our residents are scoring above the national average, which I think is impressive for a young program when it’s competing nationally with other well-established programs,” said Hale.
Forrest General will be announcing a new group of residents this summer. For more information about the Forrest General Family Medicine Residency Program, visit www.fghfamilymedicine.com . For more information or to schedule an appointment with the Family Medicine Residency Clinic, call 601-579-3300.