South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday September 17, 2019
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October 2014 - Volume 11 - Issue 4

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FAU Receives $400,000 Grant from the Quantum Foundation to Establish Residency Program

For more than 17 years, the Quantum Foundation has been working to improve the health of the people of Palm Beach County. One way in which the private grant-making organization does this is by providing grants to local charities and government organizations that provide healthcare, help people who need healthcare, and educate others about healthcare. To date, they have given away more than $115 million in grants, including $1.2 million to the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) College of Medicine, which opened in 2011.

The foundation’s most recent grant of $400,000 to FAU is designed to support a residency program for medical doctors, with the long-term goal of keeping more primary care physicians in the area. “People often talk about the ever-worsening physician shortage, and the problem is not that we don’t have enough medical students in school—we do. It’s that we don’t have enough training slots for residency, which is the next step on the ladder to becoming a primary care physician,” explained Eric Kelly, president, Quantum Foundation.

Studies have shown that on a national level, 60 percent of medical residents stay in the area where they train, becoming part of the community. A medical resident survey that Quantum Foundation undertook this summer showed that 75 percent of medical residents currently training in the county hoped to stay in Palm Beach County after their residencies were completed.

“According to a current census conducted by the Palm Beach County Medical Society, the average age of physicians in Florida is 60,” said Kelly. “Our hope is that as these physicians retire from the system, we will be bringing in a new generation of medical providers who have been trained here—who we have been able to retain in Palm Beach County—to ensure that everyone can have access to a doctor when they need to visit one.”

To this end, FAU used the $400,000 grant to establish a graduate medical education office to recruit its first cohort of 36 residents in internal medicine. In August of 2014, these residents began training at FAU’s three hospital partners—Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Bethesda Hospital and Delray Medical Center.

“As a result of this funding, FAU will have the largest medical residency program in the county in the next five years,” said Kelly, adding that 200 more medical residency slots will be available by 2019. Nova Southeastern College of Medicine, the University of Miami College of Medicine and the Palm Beach County Health Department have residency programs already underway.

“According to the Palm Beach Medical Society, even with these additional 200 slots, in order for us to close the gap we will need even more slots, and we will need to retain more residents, to meet the growing demand for physicians over the next five years,” added Kelly.

When looking at ways to increase the number of physicians in the community, one of the goals of the foundation is to not only train physicians in hospital settings, but also out in the community. “While this is not part of the FAU grant, one of the conversations that we’ve had when talking about incentives, initiatives and interventions designed to keep residents in Palm Beach County is finding ways to train them in community-based settings, like federally qualified health centers,” said Kelly. “This would not only benefit medically underserved populations, but give residents the chance to build relationships with patients and really get a feel for the community.”

To learn more about the Quantum Foundation, visit www.quantumfnd.org or call (561) 832-7497.
 

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