Bayhealth to launch residency programs in 2021

Doctors, administrators and dignitaries listen to Bayhealth CEO Terry Murphy during a press conference offering details about the introduction of Graduate and Undergraduate Medical Educations at the Dover campus on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER – Establishing residency teaching programs for doctors who have recently graduated from medical school creates a tremendous opportunity for everyone involved, according to Terry Murphy, president and CEO of Bayhealth – that includes hospital staffs, emerging student doctors, as well as patients.

That’s why Mr. Murphy and his staff at both Bayhealth Kent General Hospital in Dover and the recently opened Bayhealth Hospital Sussex Campus in Milford were so excited when they announced that they have begun the process to launching residency teaching programs of their very own, called Graduate Medical Education (GME), with a projected start date of July 2021.

“I’m honored to be the first to share with you that Bayhealth is introducing medical student residency programs,” Mr. Murphy said, during a press conference at Bayhealth Kent General Hospital on Tuesday morning. “This means that for more than 90 years of caring for people living in Kent and Sussex counties as community hospitals, Bayhealth and its hospitals will become teaching hospitals and we’ll offer residency programs to doctors who have recently graduated from medical school.

“For more than a year now, Bayhealth Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Siegleman and our Bayhealth Colorectal General Surgeon Dr. Assar Rather, along with a group of more than 20 physicians, have been working to develop the Medical Education Programs at Bayhealth. They have offered a great environment to educate the next generation of physicians.”

The announcement is an exciting one for both the communities and health systems in Dover and Milford, as the residency training program will assist in bringing more doctors to the area, enhance the culture of learning at Bayhealth and provide improvements to patient care and the patient experience.

A draft assessment and full implementation plan was developed by the Bayhealth team of physicians and the launch date of July 2021 will include family medicine and internal medicine programs, with general surgery and emergency medicine to follow in subsequent years.

The GME program will also promote teamwork and collaboration between doctors and the medical students they will be mentoring.

Bayhealth Surgeon and GME Chair Dr. Assar Rather has been pushing for Bayhealth to begin a residency program for several years. His wish finally came true with Tuesday’s announcement.

“This is very exciting for all of us as doctors,” Dr. Rather said. “Medical students are doctors when they graduate from their medical schools but they’re far from finished products. They need to get more medical knowledge and medical skill before they start practicing as physicians.

“That’s what we do with GME. We teach medical knowledge and we teach surgical skills in this day and age of teamwork and collaboration. Everyone has to have a mentor at some point.”

“Residency programs are a great way to recruit new physicians to the area and support growth within a hospital system. I’m excited to assist Bayhealth in recruiting new physicians to care for the present and many future generations of central and southern Delaware to come.”

Joseph Rubacky III, a primary care physician with Bayhealth and GME committee member, said the residency teaching programs have partnered with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) because it has recently produced the largest number of practicing physicians in Delaware.

“We have partnered with PCOM and we are moving forward, and we look forward to tremendous growth in this,” Dr. Rubacky said. “This will be a great opportunity, and it will allow us to educate the physicians of the future to meet the needs of our community. I am excited to be a part of developing this program.”

Aside from the future residency programs, Bayhealth is also partnering with area medical schools to host medical students for a portion of their Undergraduate Medical Education clinical rotations for third- and fourth-year med students. Upon graduating medical school, these students may later apply for one of Bayhealth’s residency programs.

It all adds up to big things for Bayhealth, which is addressing the shortage of primary care physicians as well as a shortage of residency spots in the nation’s hospitals with its new initiatives.

“Our future physician residents will benefit largely from the knowledge and the experience of the attending physicians involved in their training,” Mr. Murphy said.

“Residency programs create the opportunity to provide more physicians to serve the community, also in an area of high demand in Kent and Sussex counties. Once the physicians have completed their residencies there’s a higher chance they will stay in the community where they trained, resulting in greater physician retention.

“Developing the next generation of physicians to serve our community is a priority for Bayhealth.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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