Nemours Children's Health System has cleared the final hurdles for launching pediatric residency training after receiving accreditation for the program and will begin recruitment for its residency this fall.
Its first class is set to begin training in July 2019.
Already, officials said they have received strong interest from potential candidates. Amber Hoffman, M.D., program director for the residency program, told FierceHealthcare she receives messages just about every day from around the country and the world even though Nemours is in the early stages of outreach.
"I can tell you that hasn't stopped people from already reaching out to us," Hoffman said.
Nemours Children's Hosptial first opened in October 2012. Hoffman said the residency is officially beginning at a crucial time with a "booming pediatric population" in Florida. Estimates suggest that there will be a 7% increase in children living in the central part of the state by 2022, she said.
This is amid a nationwide shortage of physicians, which is only expected to get worse during that same window. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimated in April that the shortage could reach 120,000 by 2030.
A major announcement today! Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona is set to launch a Pediatric Residency Program. By next summer, the inaugural class of pediatric residents will be walking the campus! https://t.co/wj7YMAypXb pic.twitter.com/BHxHcCTDSW— Nemours (@Nemours) May 2, 2018
Training physicians in Central Florida makes them more likely to stay local and treat that growing pediatric population, Hoffman said. She said about two-thirds of pediatric residents will work within 100 miles of their training sites after graduation.
"By bringing them here for the training, the hope is we keep them here for their practice," Hoffman said.
Simulation training is a key element of Nemours' residency, Hoffman said. The curriculum is built to carry that focus on simulation through future fellowships or other studies.
"We feel strongly that should be training people in as close to real life experiences as possible before they’re in those real-life situations," Hoffman said.
Hoffman said that residents enrolled in Nemours' program will benefit from the unique perspective of a health system that is fully focused on children. Pediatric programs can often be sidelined at some systems in favor of adult healthcare programs that are more financially valuable.
Nemours also treats a large Medicaid population, she said, which allows the medical students to work with a diverse group of patients.
"I think important for trainees to see that these are our patients," she said.
House committee to consider reauthorization of pediatric graduate medical education program
This start of the residency programs comes as the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health has plans to review a bipartisan bill next week from two of the subcommittee's members that would reauthorize the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education program for five years.
The program's authorization will end on Sept. 30.
"This vital program supports the training of thousands of doctors, and helps ensure access to quality healthcare for children all across the country," said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, the subcommittee's chair and one of the bill's sponsors. "Just as we extended critical funding for the teaching hospitals earlier this year, we must complete our work and ensure this important program can also continue to do its work in our communities."