Adventist Health Ukiah Valley (AHUV) is taking the next step in securing a family medicine residency program in Ukiah. The first step was completed in October, 2016, when AHUV was approved as an official teaching hospital. The secondary step in launching the residency program is the approval of the program itself. On Feb. 7, 2018, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) will visit AHUV for an official site visit. If successful, the residency program will be accredited by May 1st and residents will join the practice in July 2019.
Following completion of medical school, our residents will receive their first year of training at UC Davis and then come to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley for their second and third year of family medicine residency including training in emergency medicine, surgery, pediatrics and women’s health, all under the supervision of a board-certified physician. Once their residency is complete, these new physicians will be qualified to become board certified family physicians.
The family residency program is a long-term solution to enhance access to primary health care in Mendocino County. Recent projections from the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) indicate that without significant changes to primary care, the growth in the field will not be adequate to meet the demand in 2020. This is even more prominent in rural communities such as Mendocino County. A Robert Graham Center study showed that over 50 percent of residents stay and practice within 100 miles of their training. This is due to the physician’s knowledge and comfort working in the area and their desire to be near their mentors. This program will help provide needed primary care physicians for our region.
Bringing a family residency program to our community has other benefits for the entire community. Physicians know that residency programs are an indication of healthcare growth and are excited at the opportunity to be part of a forward-thinking organization. The residency program also has positive economic impacts on the local economy. A recent Robert Graham Center study found that in California family physicians have a positive economic impact of almost $1,000,000 per year per doctor. Family physicians generate significant economic activity as they provide employment for support staff, purchase goods and services and generate other health care income for hospitals and nursing homes. With an aging physician population and a greater need for family medicine physicians, the residency program will make a positive impact on our community.