Cleveland Clinic Akron General is expanding several areas of its graduate medical education program which, once fully operationalized in 2024, will result in a 30 percent increase in the number of physicians it trains each year.
Prior to 2018, 138 residents were training at Akron General. This grew to 153 in the 2020-2021 academic year, which began July 1, and will reach 177 by 2024.
The biggest growth will come from Akron General’s decision to start a psychiatry residency program. Akron General had its own program many years ago, but shifted to participating in a shared program with several other local hospitals in the 1970s.
“Everyone recognizes that we need more mental health professionals in our community,” said Titus Sheers, M.D., chairman of medical education and research at Akron General. “This is the first completely new residency program created at Akron General in several decades, and we have put a great deal of time and effort into its creation to make sure we are doing it right.”
The new psychiatry program will have four residents in each of its four years of training, with the first group starting in July 2021. When it is fully implemented, with 16 participants, it will double the number of trained psychiatrists graduating in the Akron area each year. The program is being led by Rajesh Tampi, M.D., chair of the psychiatry department at Akron General.
Akron General is also expanding its OB/GYN residency program, from four residents per year (in a four-year program) to five per year starting with this year’s class. That program is directed by Natalie Bowersox, M.D.
“We know the community needs more clinicians who are dedicated to reducing infant mortality and addressing overall women’s health care needs, not just those around pregnancy,” Dr. Sheers said.
Akron General’s Family Medicine residency program is also growing by two more spots this summer, as the Transformative Care Continuum program, a partnership with Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUHCOM) that offers a compressed training program (three years of medical school and three years of primary care residency), enters its clinical years.
In addition, the hospital expanded its traditional Family Medicine and Internal Medicine training programs by two each in the first year and two each in the second year last year and is looking to expand them even further in the future.
Akron General also offers residencies in emergency medicine, general surgery, orthopedic surgery and urology, and advanced-training fellowships in breast surgery oncology and vitreo-retinal & ocular trauma. Multiple pharmacy residency programs, including critical care, are also offered.
Akron General also hosts more than 750 medical student rotations each year, with students participating from medical schools across the country, as well as numerous nursing student rotations.
“We greatly appreciate our organization’s very strong commitment to funding education of the next generation of medical providers, a tradition which goes back to the founding of Akron General,” said Dr. Sheers, noting that Akron General was able to acquire 10 of the 20 federally funded resident education spots that became available after Affinity Medical Center in Massillon closed in 2018.
Changes due to COVID-19 that are being incorporated into Akron General’s programs include more training in how to work virtually, doing things such as conducting patient exams, rounding, teaching, and consulting with colleagues, he said.
“We want out trainees to leave here ready to take care of all patients going forward in this new era, and it do well,” said Dr. Sheers.