Addressing the physician shortage: Inaugural internal medicine residency is an investment in our region’s future

May 31, 2024

By: Michael Dacey, M.D., Riverside Health President & CEO

This year, our leadership team at Riverside decided to make an important investment in our community by launching a new internal medicine residency program. 

There’s never been a more important time to build strong residency programs to train future doctors. Not only do residency programs grow the pool of physicians, but they also encourage physicians to stay in the region where they train. Residency is the single most important factor for where a physician will work.

As we all know too well, there's a national shortage of physicians, with predictions as high as 100,000 in the coming years. While there is no shortage of medical school programs, there are far too few training positions.

I’m proud that we at Riverside have a 50-year deep history of supporting the next generation of physicians. We added to our longstanding family medicine residency three years ago by launching a successful emergency medicine residency. 

Now, we’re also adding internal medicine. With eight spots available, our team selected eight talented residents from over 2,500 applicants. We are proud to do our part to address the physician shortage, particularly in primary care. Faculty and program directors at Riverside are key to making our residency program so successful.

We began the arduous application process for the new internal medicine program with the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) in September of 2023  and were delighted to be approved in record time. 

Just after Match Day, March 15, I proudly announced that eight new residents will join the inaugural internal medicine residency in fall 2024. These eight outstanding medical students will help us build a foundational program that will benefit our region for decades. 

We welcome 49 residents to our 2024 class:

  • 13 family medicine 
  • 3 OB/GYN 
  • 12 transitional year 
  • 8 emergency medicine 
  • 8 internal medicine
  • 4 pharmacy, acute care
  • 1 pharmacy, community/ambulatory

Residents at Riverside Health have rich opportunities they wouldn’t necessarily find in other hospitals. They join a vibrant community in a beautiful region and gain experience in an integrated health system with inpatient and outpatient settings. Our talented clinical staff treats a diverse patient population with breadth and depth of disease and diagnoses. 

What’s exciting about this new residency program is that it opens the doors to additional programs in the future. 

Besides making an important investment in the future of health care, having a robust residency program also benefits physicians and patients today. Many physicians look for jobs that allow them to teach as attending doctors, so having a strong residency program attracts more talent to our health system. 

For those faculty members who choose to serve as teaching physicians, many find that nothing is more rewarding than guiding a resident to become a capable physician. Residents ask questions, nurturing a culture of growth and exploration. I’ve often experienced when a resident was right about a diagnosis or raised a question, allowing the doctor to make the right diagnosis.

As we prepare to welcome the 2024 class of residents, allow me to offer a few tips from my own residency and attending physician experience: 

  1. Work hard and listen more than you talk.
  2. See as many patients as you can –– that’s what makes you a good doctor.
  3. Find mentors with different approaches to gain a greater diversity of opinions and experience. 

See you in the fall!