FSU, SMH Get Green Light to Launch Emergency Medicine Residency Program

FSU, SMH Get Green Light to Launch Emergency Medicine Residency Program

Monday, April 09, 2018

SARASOTA, Fla. (April 9, 2018) – The Florida State University College of Medicine (FSU) and Sarasota Memorial Health Care System have received approval to launch a new Emergency Medicine residency program to meet healthcare and physician workforce needs in Sarasota and surrounding communities.

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 Friday. The approval clears the way for Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) and FSU to begin reaching out to graduating medical students interested in enrolling in the specialty program in the summer of 2019. 

The new Emergency Medicine residency program — and an Internal Medicine residency program that FSU and SMH started last year — are critical to addressing physician shortages in our region, SMH CEO David Verinder said. 

Statewide studies continue to show that the supply of primary care and emergency doctors in our region is critically below our residents’ needs. The state’s physician workforce report shows the number of primary care physicians in Medicaid Region 8 (including Sarasota, Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Desoto, Glades and Hendry) falls short of demand by more than 25 percent, the largest deficit in the state. 

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

Medical school graduates are required to complete residency training in their chosen specialty in order to gain board certification and become an independently practicing physician. Numerous studies have shown that most physicians end up practicing near where they completed residency training. 

Emergency Medicine is a popular specialty choice for FSU College of Medicine graduates. 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 percent) have matched in Emergency Medicine, making it the fifth-most popular specialty choice (behind Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Obstetrics-gynecology). 

“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. “The Internal Medicine residency program — and our collaboration in this new Emergency Medicine program — is a significant part of the commitment to producing future physicians for Sarasota and this entire region.”

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

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. Most of the clinical rotations will take place at SMH’s main campus and include trauma and emergency care, OB emergency care, anesthesia critical care, cardiac and medical intensive care, and emergency pediatric care. 

O’Keefe previously served as the founding director of an Emergency Medicine residency program in Tampa with the University of South Florida. While in that role, he also served as medical director for the Adult Emergency Care Center at Tampa General Hospital.

“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,” Dr. O’Keefe said. “The program will emphasize clinical excellence, the development of leadership skills and business acumen, patient safety and quality improvement, and physician wellness. We expect that our graduates will serve our local communities well into the future.”

About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System 
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 900,000 patient visits each year. Its flagship 829-bed, acute-care hospital has been consistently recognized as one of the nation’s largest and best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services – from urgent care, trauma and emergency services to laboratory and diagnostic imaging, home health, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. SMH is the only hospital in Florida to have consistently earned the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid's Services highest five-star quality award since the rating system launched in 2016.  

FSU College of Medicine Internal Residency Program at Sarasota Memorial
FSU’s College of Medicine has operated a regional campus in Sarasota since 2005. At any given time, approximately 20 third-year and 20 fourth-year students from the campus are completing required and elective clinical rotations in Sarasota learning directly from experienced community physicians who are part of the College of Medicine faculty. Some of those rotations take place at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The College of Medicine also sponsors residency programs in family medicine  (with Lee Health in Fort Myers), internal medicine and general surgery (with Tallahassee Memorial Health Care) and dermatology (with Dermatology Associates in Tallahassee).