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Kaweah Delta Now Offers Emergency Medicine Residency Program | Health

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Kaweah Delta Now Offers Emergency Medicine Residency Program
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Kaweah Delta Now Offers Emergency Medicine Residency Program

Kaweah Delta Health Care District now offers one of only 160 emergency medicine residency programs in the U.S.

Following a site visit earlier this year, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) awarded Kaweah Delta accreditation on Sept. 22 to offer an emergency medicine residency program. Kaweah Delta can now begin accepting applications from those who will graduate medical school this spring and wish to begin the program on July 1, 2013. Michael Burg, M.D., is Program Director of Kaweah Delta’s Emergency Medicine Residency Program and Lori Winston, M.D., is Associate Program Director.

There is a great need for emergency medicine residency programs across the country, and Kaweah Delta’s record emergency department volume should attract high-quality applicants, Dr. Burg said. In general, emergency medicine residencies are very competitive.

“There are more applicants than available training positions across the country, so there’s definitely a need for more providers,” said Burg, noting that Kaweah Delta’s program was only the 14th new emergency medicine program accredited by the ACGME in the last 10 years. “The fact that we just see a flood of patients will be wonderful for learning.”

The initial accreditation for the emergency medicine residency program is for three years – the longest initial accreditation cycle possible under ACGME’s policy.

Kaweah Delta has one of the busiest emergency departments in California and treated 86,000 patients in 2011. It is also the only level III trauma center in Tulare and Kings counties. Since 2010, when Kaweah Delta was awarded its trauma center designation, the number of trauma patients has increased by more than 200 percent to over 1,000 trauma patients a year.

It is estimated that between 40-50% of the physicians that train in Tulare County through the GME programs will remain and practice in the Visalia area.

“This program is going to change the face of medical care in Visalia and the Central Valley,” Burg said. “These young doctors are going to come here with very high standards and want to practice great medicine.”

And what makes a good candidate for Kaweah Delta’s first class of residents? It is expected that Kaweah Delta will receive at least 400 applicants for its first class of six residents, while in years two and three, Kaweah Delta will have 12 and 18 resident physicians in emergency medicine. 

Earlier this year, Kaweah Delta received accreditation as an institution for residency programs from the ACGME and for its Family Medicine Residency Program – the first two of five planned Graduate Medical Education (GME) Programs. The programs are affiliated with UC Irvine.

Kaweah Delta, will establish GME residency training programs in the areas of Family Practice and Emergency Medicine in 2013, followed by a Psychiatry Residency program in 2014, and a General Surgery and Transitional Year program in 2015.

Construction is underway to house Kaweah Delta’s Graduate Medical Education Offices inside the fifth floor of its Support Services Building, 520 W. Mineral King Ave., Visalia. It will house the Margaret Foley Graduate Medical Education Center, which will include conference rooms, a resident lounge and the graduate medical education offices. The simulation center located in the fifth floor Lynn Havard Mirviss Education Center is also being expanded to include a control room and an additional simulation suite. There residents will be trained and observed as they work with patient simulators.

Medical students and recent medical school graduates who are interested in applying for Kaweah Delta’s GME programs are currently visiting the area to do unpaid student clerk rotations. Anyone interested in housing a medical student during their stay in Tulare County is asked to call 624-2552.  

For more information about Kaweah Delta’s Emergency Medicine Residency Program and its faculty, please visit www.kdgme.org.

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