Amidst a shortage of physicians in the San Joaquin Valley, local opportunities for graduate medical training are expanding.
For the first time in its 88-year history, Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno is becoming a teaching hospital with the launch of an internal medicine residency program in July 2018. It will accept 16 residents the first year and grow to 40 after three years.
Dr. Walter Eugene Egerton, Saint Agnes’s chief medical officer, says that’s just the beginning. The hospital plans to operate future residencies in family and emergency medicine, as well as a transitional year. "Our goal is to try to fill 120 residency slots when we’re at a full capacity," he says.
The overall objective, he says, is straightforward: get more doctors to stay in this area. "If we grew our own physicians here by offering more training opportunities for them, that would produce a level of fresh primary care physicians, some of whom would choose to stay in the Valley and practice in the Valley," he says.
The program is not affiliated with any particular medical school and will participate in the federal Match program.
Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera just welcomed its first class of 13 pediatric residents earlier this summer.