FSU, SMH emergency medicine residency program receives initial accreditation approval

First graduating medical students expected to enroll in program in the summer of 2019

The Sarasota Memorial complex is on U.S. 41 in Sarasota. Photo courtesy Sarasota Memorial Health Care

The Florida State University (FSU) College of Medicine and Sarasota Memorial Health (SMH) Care System have received approval to launch a new emergency medicine residency program to meet health care and physician workforce needs in Sarasota and surrounding communities, SMH has announced.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) — the sanctioning body of graduate medical education in the U.S. and Canada — approved the program’s initial accreditation on April 6, a news release points out. “The approval clears the way for SMH and FSU to begin reaching out to graduating medical students interested in enrolling in the specialty program in the summer of 2019,” the release says.

The new emergency medicine residency program — and an internal medicine residency program FSU and SMH started last year — “are critical to addressing physician shortages in our region,” SMH CEO David Verinder noted in the release. Statewide studies continue to show that the supply of primary care and emergency doctors in this region “is critically below our residents’ needs,” he added in the release.

The state’s physician workforce report shows the supply of primary care physicians in Medicaid Region 8 (including Sarasota, Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Desoto, Glades and Hendry counties) falls short of demand by more than 25 percent, the highest level of any region in the state, the release points out.

“We believe adding more residency programs is a critical investment in the health of our region,” Verinder said in the release. “Without these kinds of residency programs, new doctors will continue to leave our region and state after graduating medical school.”

Medical school graduates are required to complete residency training in their chosen specialties to gain board certification and become independently practicing physicians, the release explains. “Numerous studies have shown that most physicians end up practicing near where they completed residency training,” the release adds.

Emergency medicine is a popular specialty choice for FSU College of Medicine graduates, the release continues. The medical school graduated its initial class of 27 students in 2005, with eight of those entering emergency medicine residency programs. Overall, 123 of FSU’s 1,147 medical alumni (10.7%) have opted for emergency medicine, making it the fifth-most popular specialty choice (behind internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics-gynecology), the release says.

“The community-based approach is what sets our medical school apart, and it’s the basis for strong partnerships like the one we have developed with Sarasota Memorial,” said John P. Fogarty, dean of the FSU College of Medicine, in the release.

Dr. Kelly O’Keefe, the program’s founding director, was hired last year to oversee the new program, the release says.

“During their three years of training, residents rotate through all of the disciplines in emergency medicine under the supervision of FSU and Sarasota Memorial’s highly qualified, board certified physicians and medical educators,” the release notes.

“Now that we have ACGME approval, our plan is to begin interviewing prospective residents this fall and to welcome a first class of nine residents in July of 2019,” Kelly said in the release.